Does your child have an outstanding meal balance at school? Well, local school district officials are hoping that you inquire soon.
Yelm Community Schools and the Rainier School District are currently reaching out to families with outstanding meal balances in hopes that they’ll be able to begin paying them off soon.
According to information provided by Yelm Chief of Finances and Operations Toni Bernethy, Yelm Community Schools had about $23,700 in negative account balances as of June 30. That number comes after the school district applied approximately $12,000 in donations from its compassion fund.
Debi Holmes, business manager and food service director for the Rainier School District, said their district’s balance is at around $140. About a month ago, their meal debt was around $1,100.
Last Christmas, Connolly Tacon & Meserve, a local law firm, paid off the district’s $1,000 meal debt it had accumulated over three months.
The two districts are not comparable.
Holmes said most of the time families don’t even know that they have an outstanding balance and that it’s a part of the district’s duty to continually check back in with them.
“Mostly, it’s just catching up with the parents to get that paid,” she said.
Like other districts its size, Yelm Community Schools has in recent months seen an increase in the amount of debt it’s taking on.
“There might be a really high debt in the urban center, but sometimes in those urban centers they might get a higher donation,” said Superintendent Brian Wharton. “I don’t feel like we’re out of the norm.”
Yelm High School has the largest chunk of meal debt, with approximately $9,200 worth, which is over one-third of the district’s meal debt. Lackamas Elementary had the lowest meal debt of any school within the district, tallying $69.87.