School Board Discusses Fines For Late Lunch Payments

Londonderry parents may start getting fined if their school lunch payments are not up to date.

At the last School Board meeting, a revision to the current dining service program was read so board members and the public could discuss the proposed fines for when students’ school lunch tallies get too far into the red. The proposal will allow parents to request when the school can stop charges to the accounts. It will also start a fine system, which will increase depending on how much is owed.

Peter Curro said, “I believe it does everything we wanted to do.”

Currently, the proposed fines would be broken down into three brackets. Parents owing $50- $99.99 would be charged $10 a month. Debt from $100-$199.99 would be $20 a month. Anyone owing $200 or more would be charged $50 a month. According to the proposal, “if the student’s meal debt grows to $30.00 or more the parents will be requested to meet with building Principal or Asst. Principal.” From there, they can all discuss whether or not the family should apply for free or reduced cost lunches if applicable.

Curro said since the problem with payments was made public, some parents have been calling in to him and Dining Service Director Amanda Venezia to pay off the debt.

The current policy in the district is for students to be able to still receive school lunches, regardless if their accounts are in debt or not.

“We are not denying them a meal,” said School Board member Steve Young. However, students are not able to get anything they want to eat if they are in debt. They are able to get the “regularly served meal,” but not items that are considered snacks or a la carte, like hamburgers, French fries or soda.

“The students will be fed, but not with snacks,” said Curro. The only exception to this is if the parents have told the school not to provide meals through a written or on-line statement.

The school lunch program functions as a non-profit under federal law, so it cannot have a negative balance at the end of the year. If it does, then the money to pay off the debt must come from another program. This can cut into other groups’ funding, so the district wants to make sure parents are able to pay up if they can. There are three way families can deposit money into their kid’s account. They can do it through cash, check or on-line payment. Checks can be made out to the Londonderry School District.

During the reading, Young pointed out that there was an issue with the way the proposal was written. To him, it seemed like the language suggested that any type of debt with the school (like library fines) could exclude students from having access to something other than the regularly served meals. Curro insisted that was not the plan and offered to fix it before the next reading.

The earliest the proposed changes would go into effect would be “the Monday after February vacation,” said Curro. Specifically, it would be March 5. This would hopefully give parents time to pay down their debt before they start getting fined. Families can contact Venezia or set up monthly payment plans.

A copy of the proposed changes to the dining services management program can be found on the homepage of the district’s website,, under “Pending Dining Services Policies.pdf.”

The board voted to accept the first reading and will have a second reading for the public on Nov. 14.

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter