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Moorhead student lunch debt collection idea could soon be voted out of proposed policy

WDAY News received clarity from the Moorhead superintendent about proposed debt collection for student lunch accounts.

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MOORHEAD, Minn. — The Moorhead Area Public School Board is looking at food policy changes pitched by district administration. One new idea was to send families with an outstanding lunch balance to debt collectors.

Superintendent Dr. Brandon Lunak said the school board is taking that idea out of the overall policy change. The board will have its last vote on the policy at their next meeting. If the policy passes in its currently modified form, the debt collection idea would be eliminated.

"They have to approve a policy, but what's in that policy, the board can decide if that stays in or stays out, and right now, the board has elected to remove that," Lunak said, referring to the debt collection idea.

Lunak said they have other ways to tackle lunch debt. He added they are constantly looking at ways to work with families who are struggling. Dr. Lunak said all students get the same meals inside the cafeteria regardless of their lunch funds. There are no alternative meals.

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"What are other mechanisms that we can use to help support families that are in need, and at the same time, support the district so we're not compressing that general fund anymore," Lunak said.

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Lunak said they had to take $200,000 from the general fund to cover unpaid lunch debts from the past three years.

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