Ames School Board alters lunch account policy

The Ames School Board has changed it's policy on school lunch accounts.  During a special meeting Thursday, the board got rid of the negative $25 account benchmark used to keep students from charging additional meals. The old policy forced elementary students take an alternative meal and left middle and high school students without a meal if they didn’t have cash. Under the new guidelines students can charge past negative $25. Also, families that overdraw their accounts by $100 or more will have balances sent to the superintendent’s office where they'll be designated for collection. The board also amended the policy so if the district's overall negative lunch balance reaches $70,000 dollars at any point, it'll review negative accounts within its next two meetings and decide what action to take.  Under the old policy, the district reduced it's negative lunch from $109,000 to $39,000.  Critics of that policy say it forced kids to go hungry and made them targets of what they called "lunch-shaming."

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