Collection agency working to collect Cumberland lunch debts

By News Staff

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CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WLNE) – The Cumberland school committee has decided to bring in an outside collection agency to try and handle the overdue balances.

The department is bringing in F.H. Cann & Associates to try and settle some of the overdue lunch debts racked up across the district.

The bill added up quickly after the district ended it’s “substitute lunch” program in 2017, in an attempt stop “lunch shaming.”

“Up until the policy change 2 years ago, it was a small amount of money,” school committee chair Paul DiModica said.

DiModica said the debt less than $9,000 in 2017, but skyrocketed to nearly $60,000 in 2019.

He says after countless attempts to collects those debts from parents, the committee had no other choice.

“It’s a tough situation right now,” said DiModica. “It’s hard. I mean, here are you’re children who’ve put you into a collection agency.”

As part of the subsidized lunch program, the federal government requires the school district to try and settle these debts.

If they are not settled immediately that money will be coming out of the district’s general fund at a later date.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019