Columbus schools to go after lunch deadbeats

Full story: Columbus Dispatch

Columbus City Schools would get tough on parents - and maybe kids - who don't pay what they owe the district for lunches under a Food Services Department proposal released yesterday.

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John

Milford Center, OH

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#1
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Who Said There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch No Pay No Eat
CCS Shares Blame

Columbus, OH

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#2
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Personally I believe CPS is partially to blame. As a parent of a CPS student, I had no idea that I my son had unpaid lunches until the last week of the school year when a note came home with him. CPS does not have an online lunch program system where you can manage your child's school lunches like many other districts do. There is no way to know what your child's balance is, or even if there is one, unless you go to the school at lunch time and talk to the staff managing lunches. I do my best to be responsible and would never expect my children to get a free lunch, however in the past they have left their lunch at home and not communicated with me about getting a hot lunch. If I could periodically log into the CPS web site and pay by debit/credit instead of writing a check on the last and busiest week of the school year it would be a whole lot easier.
Old School

United States

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#3
Jul 29, 2011
 

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School employees who cheated should be charged with theft and fired.
what

Mount Gilead, OH

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#4
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Can the Columbus Schools do anything right? What a mess they are.
no more lies

Columbus, OH

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#5
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Makes a good news story but we will not see any results.
John Galt

Hilliard, OH

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#6
Jul 29, 2011
 

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What about the Principal's and teachers with kids on free lunch? Going after them too?
Spooey

Cleveland, OH

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#7
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Apparently it should bve an easy task, they just need to walk down to the Principals office.
Bob

Columbus, OH

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#8
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Hmm. Methinks somebody that works for the Dispatch has been asked to be more favorable to Gene Harris and CPS.

Don't most of you think that the headline should have been centered around this information?:

Also yesterday, the district's internal auditor told the audit committee that she has found "red flags" that additional district employees might have improperly signed up their own children to receive free- or reduced-price lunches. Internal auditor Carolyn Smith launched the probe after the children of two principals were found to have received subsidized lunches.

Uhh. I seem to remember this being a really big deal a couple of months ago, which would make this followup report and even bigger deal.
Nana

Dublin, OH

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#9
Jul 29, 2011
 

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They are already going after the two individuals that they know of who got their children free lunches. Read the article and related articles before you make comments. Also, as for all these kids owing money, why did CCSD let this get so out of control? And, may the parents did give the kids the money for their lunch and the kids used that money on something else altogether! Just a thought - no matter what, these people need to pay up or simply put, their children do not get to buy any lunches until it is all paid. End of discussion. You don't pay, you don't eat.
Bob

Columbus, OH

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#10
Jul 29, 2011
 

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...and I'm not saying that the "deadbeats" aren't a big story as well, just that it seems they buried a very important story in the middle of the article for some reason.
Wanna bet

Fort Myers, FL

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#11
Jul 29, 2011
 

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I hope the Dispatch follows this story. I'm betting that very little money will be recovered and the "red flag" to avoid further abuse of the system will not be waiving long. And why weren't the names of the employees added to the story?
By excluding exposure the employees and others will now be encouraged to also join the free ride at tax payers expense. They will continue on their merry way by abusing the system knowing full well that retribution will not be forthcoming. What is there to fear? The fox is guarding the hen house and no one in leadership will do anything about it. Wanna bet?
lets compare facts

Kenton, OH

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#12
Jul 29, 2011
 

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It's an insult to every parent that pays for lunches, as they should, that the board has to decide whether they will try to collect.
Bob

Columbus, OH

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Jul 29, 2011
 

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Nana wrote:
They are already going after the two individuals that they know of who got their children free lunches. Read the article and related articles before you make comments. Also, as for all these kids owing money, why did CCSD let this get so out of control? And, may the parents did give the kids the money for their lunch and the kids used that money on something else altogether! Just a thought - no matter what, these people need to pay up or simply put, their children do not get to buy any lunches until it is all paid. End of discussion. You don't pay, you don't eat.
My point is the article and headling could have been presented in a matter that indicated further incompetence by CPS. Instead they buried an important followup storyline, and indicated that nearly $1M dollars was the result of "deadbeat" parents and not CPS failing to follow policy, or even having a policy in place. They're saying - It's the deadbeats problem, not CPS for allowing it to grow out of control.
Say_what

Reynoldsburg, OH

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#14
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Let's see! 400,000 for a collection agency or we could utilize the automatic phone dialer that is already in place. Why not set out guidelines and follow them? Or...perhaps we could hire back some laid off employees part time and allow them to become account receivable clerks. Hmmmm...that would cost the district at the most 100,000 and ideally collect the full one million for a recovery of $900,000.00. Now that is some food for thought!
Retired

United States

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#15
Jul 29, 2011
 

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A million here, a million there, it all adds up. It is disengenuous to NOT go after money that is owed, fraudulent behavior that is uncovered, etc. and then turn around and ask the taxpayer to approve a levy. No wonder everyone is fed-up. CPS has GOT to get their house in order.... the people at the bottom, (adults and children alike) will suffer because of decisions made at the top.

JPA

Since: Jan 10

Columbus, OH

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Jul 29, 2011
 

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CCS Shares Blame wrote:
Personally I believe CPS is partially to blame. As a parent of a CPS student, I had no idea that I my son had unpaid lunches until the last week of the school year when a note came home with him. CPS does not have an online lunch program system where you can manage your child's school lunches like many other districts do. There is no way to know what your child's balance is, or even if there is one, unless you go to the school at lunch time and talk to the staff managing lunches. I do my best to be responsible and would never expect my children to get a free lunch, however in the past they have left their lunch at home and not communicated with me about getting a hot lunch. If I could periodically log into the CPS web site and pay by debit/credit instead of writing a check on the last and busiest week of the school year it would be a whole lot easier.
How did your child learn it is OK to steal food?...Keep it Simple.
Time is Up

Thornville, OH

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#17
Jul 29, 2011
 

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CPS is in an impossible situation. They hire hourly personnel to prepare the food (each school is only given so many hours for these folks) and they should be preparing the food, not acting like some collection agency. On the other hand, a lot of money is at stake to just let it go.

Then there is the child. On one hand, we all know that nutrition is important to learning. So how can we deny ANYONE food? On the other hand, I have seen kids use their lunch money for things other than lunch and, when the school contacts the parents, either the child doesn't take home the note, the parents don't check for it (look in their backpacks at least twice per week!), or the phone calls never reach the parents. Then parents get upset with the school when their child doesn't eat or has a large bill to pay.

What used to be a simple system has become a huge albatross around the school's neck...another one!
Sharon Columbus

Columbus, OH

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#18
Jul 29, 2011
 
no more lies wrote:
Makes a good news story but we will not see any results.
Ditto: far beyond being fair, logical and business smart to initiate a reasonable plan of payment for the lunch program. The comment for parents to log in a site and pay by credit card is good but CSB doesn't have the speed or mentality to put in place.

Sorry CSB your past history, reputation speaks for itself.
Thankful Mom

Columbus, OH

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#19
Jul 29, 2011
 

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CCS Shares Blame wrote:
Personally I believe CPS is partially to blame. As a parent of a CPS student, I had no idea that I my son had unpaid lunches until the last week of the school year when a note came home with him. CPS does not have an online lunch program system where you can manage your child's school lunches like many other districts do. There is no way to know what your child's balance is, or even if there is one, unless you go to the school at lunch time and talk to the staff managing lunches. I do my best to be responsible and would never expect my children to get a free lunch, however in the past they have left their lunch at home and not communicated with me about getting a hot lunch. If I could periodically log into the CPS web site and pay by debit/credit instead of writing a check on the last and busiest week of the school year it would be a whole lot easier.
I couldn't agree more with this writer. We have had similar circumstances in our house.
Bobcat

Dublin, OH

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#20
Jul 29, 2011
 

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Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
My point is the article and headling could have been presented in a matter that indicated further incompetence by CPS. Instead they buried an important followup storyline, and indicated that nearly $1M dollars was the result of "deadbeat" parents and not CPS failing to follow policy, or even having a policy in place. They're saying - It's the deadbeats problem, not CPS for allowing it to grow out of control.
Are you serious? If I borrow your power tools and never return them, may I blame you for being so dumb as to let me have them? This story is a no brainer, if you eat then pay. If you can not afford to eat...then fill out the paper work to eat on everyone else's dime. Schools get lambasted if they refuse to feed children with irresponsible/poor parents because its not the child's fault. Now you would also lambast them because the "parents" are irresponsible? Exactly when does society expect a person to act like an adult?

As to the fraud, this should be in a separate article as its a different story and was only thrown in to get the goat of people like you that think its always someone else's fault when things aren't rosy. The fraud should be prosecuted and those responsible should lose their jobs. BTW, in some rural school districts, a newly hired school employee with a family of 4 may qualify for reduced lunch.

Please re-evaluate your position (or send me your powertools).

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