Nutritional departments deal with end of year lunch balances

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)-  The end of the school year means a lot of different things. Students have to study for tests, parents have to figure out summer plans, and nutrition directors have to worry about pending charges.

No child in Pitt county will ever be denied a meal, but that doesn’t mean your tax dollars won’t pick up the tab.

“I see kids crying out that they’re hungry, and they need more than what we got sometimes. 90 percent of our kids, don’t have money in their accounts to pay for it,” Cafeteria manager Arlene Valentine said. “I’m subject to take it out of my account and buy them something.”

Everyone at South Greenville Elementary gets a free lunch, but snacks cost extra money and most students don’t have the extra cash.

At school’s where the lunch isn’t subsidized, children often get to the front of the line with no way to pay for what’s on their tray.

“As of May 12 our charge balance was $4,704,58,” Pitt County Nutrition Director Leann Seelman said.

No one is ever denied a meal because they can’t pay and that’s how school systems develop a charge balance.

“Those outstanding charges have to be paid out of local money at the district level,” Seelman said.

Some school districts have angels, anonymous citizens who pay the remaining balance at the end of the year. Pitt County Schools doesn’t have any of that. Officials say if someone stepped up, it would make a huge difference.

Right now 10 out of Pitt County’s 37 schools qualify for free lunch. The nutritional director wants to get more schools on that list in the near future, and in return, help lower the charge balance.

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