Fort Bend ISD changes lunch policy for delinquent accounts

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Fort Bend ISD is going to begin serving up something different for some students who continually fail to pay for their lunches -- a cold cheese sandwich with a side of milk, and that's not sitting well with some parents.

We're not talking about students who qualify for free school meals. But apparently, these repeat offenders have gotten so "forgetful" that it's draining the district's budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That amount keeps growing every day - and eventually, the district could have to pay that balance with your tax dollars to cover all of those unpaid lunches.

When you imagine school lunch, you might picture something like pizza -- or a healthier option, with salad and vegetables.

But starting this week if a student at a Fort Bend ISD school owes $35 or more, their lunch won't look like that. It'll be a cheese sandwich and milk, or milk and cereal for breakfast.

Patrick Gonzales said, "Everyone's hungry in the morning and kids need to concentrate while they're doing their homework."

"A cheese sandwich isn't exactly going to sustain them throughout the day," said Rich Bantique.

Fort Bend ISD is making the change because of escalating unpaid lunch balances. The district reports more than 1,900 accounts owe $35 or more -- totaling up to about $400,000 owed to the district.

Eric Alejandro, a father, said, "People need to pay that or send a lunch for the kids from the house."

This policy doesn't apply to students who receive free meals and the district made the change this week to ensure no students go hungry. But that $400,000 total could be paid through the district's general fund.

"I think they should take action toward the parents," said mother Shilpa Naik. "Money is money."

READ: Letter to parents describing the school lunch policy change

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