Following a discussion regarding the food service policy that prevents students with a deficit of $6.75 from eating lunch, the Ellwood City Area school board decided to leave the policy as is after all members except President Renee Pitrelli and Vice President Matt Morella agreed.
At Thursday’s regular meeting, Carmelia Fury, director of Holy Redeemer Social Services, presented a written statement to the board in which she criticized this decision. The statement said the board shouldn’t base such policies on financial concerns and that all students should be able to eat. She added that the board should find out why 20-30 students don’t eat lunch on any given day.
According to administration, the students who don’t eat eat are a mix of those who know they have a deficit and a mix of those who choose not to eat lunch because they don’t want to. In addition, the administration said that students whose lunch is thrown away because of a deficit have been previously informed of their deficit and that their next lunch will be discarded.
Expressing the opposite opinion of Fury, visitor Jeff Krosovic said that he believes the issue comes down to a matter of personal responsibility for parents and students.
“The district can’t babysit every single student,” Krosovic said.
In addition, he criticized the EllwoodCity.org article for omitting that students who qualify for free and reduced lunches aren’t affected by the policy. Students denied a meal are only from families that don’t receive Federally-funded meals.
The board didn’t further discuss the policy at Thursday’s meeting.