Claremont Considers Hiring Collection Agency to Recoup Student Lunch Debt

Oct 11, 2018

Claremont's Stevens High School
Credit Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

An online fundraiser to pay off student lunch debt in the Claremont schools has raised over $2,000 in just a handful of days.

Still, it’s not enough to cover the $32,000 bill, and the district’s Director of Business and Finance Mike O’Neill says one-time donations are not the answer.

“I think it's a temporary solution to a permanent problem," he said.

School officials say it’s likely many families in town that would qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program are not applying. In some cases, O’Neill said, that’s due to a perceived stigma around the program.

"I get that some people don't want to ask for help,” he said, “but at the same time I can't have the district eating - no pun intended - eating $32,000 worth of food every year."

The school board will consider whether to hire a collection agency at its meeting this weekend