The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School’s lunch policy has accumulated thousands in unpaid lunch fees for the school district.
At a March meeting, CHCCS Board of Education voted to appropriate money from their fund balance to cover almost $40,000 in unpaid meals.
In addition to the $40,000 in unpaid meals, the district’s Child Nutrition Department also ran a deficit for the 2010-2011 school year.
The school district’s lunch policy does not deny elementary or middle school children meals if they do not have money, said Liz Cartano, director of dining for Chartwells at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
Students who cannot pay for lunch are still charged for the lunch, and parents are billed for the lunch fee. But many parents have not paid those charges, leaving the district to foot the bill.
The Child Nutrition Department in CHCCS is not required to absorb the costs, Cartano said.
The district contracts to an outside firm, Chartwells Schools Dining Services, to manage the district’s Child Nutrition Department.
District spokeswoman Stephanie Knott said she thinks the deficit exists in the Child Nutrition budget because of their outsourcing model.
Chartwells was hired when the contract with the previous vendor expired, Knott said.