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District drops idea of ‘alternate meal’ for students in debt

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Columbia Public Schools have abandoned the idea of offering an “alternate meal” of a cheese sandwich and apple for students who owe more than $15 to the district.

District nutrition services director Laina Fullum sent parents and guardians an email in early August explaining the proposal that was to go into effect Aug. 25.

Superintendent Peter Stiepleman says the district heard loudly from the community that it would not be one that refuses to provide food for children.

Fullum told principals in the district that parents needed to be held accountable for unpaid meal debt. The principals contacted families and helped them either apply for free or reduced-price meals or pay their balance.

Fullum says the unpaid meal balances have been declining since then.

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