Helena School District eyes new school lunch debt policy

The Helena School District is changing a policy that allows it to use collection agencies to recover school lunch debt.

The district received backlash in April after saying it planned to turn over $100,000 in school debts to collections.

Superintendent Jack Copps said he had been in the hospital and the announcement went out without his approval. He said such a policy punishes students from low-income families.

Copps told the school board last week that the district realized it was inconsistent in notifying parents about lunch debt and better communication would help.

Under the new policy, to be voted on tomorrow, weekly notifications will be sent home with students who have lunch debt, and principals or other school officials will contact families when the debt reaches $30.