"The overall philosophy of our food services program is that “no child ever goes hungry.” No matter if a child has a healthy balance in his account, pays as she goes, or owes money, the child receives a meal at breakfast and lunch. In fact, a child may charge up to $25.00 worth of meals before any changes are made. If a child is building a balance, various measures are taken to communicate with the parent/guardian. This includes notes sent home and phone calls. Additionally, parent/guardians have access to their child’s account through our PayPams system. They can view what a child is purchasing, the account balance or deficit, and other information. There are also situations where a staff member believes the family may need assistance. In these situations, a counselor, CST member, or administrator will contact the family to offer assistance which may include helping the parent complete the necessary paperwork for free or reduced lunch. Again, our goal is to ensure that no child goes hungry.
"The other aspect that is important to understand is that the school cafeteria is an enterprise account – meaning that it is a business that, by code, needs to be self-sustaining. Therefore, we do need to have certain guidelines in place to ensure that parents/guardians fulfill their obligation to the food services program. Once the account accumulates more than $25.00, a meal is still provided. However, the main hot component is replaced with a cheese sandwich. All other meal components (e.g. vegetable, fruit, beverage) are included with the sandwich. Additionally, if a food services staff member needs to speak to a child, every effort is made to do so in a manner that is private and maintains the child’s dignity. As previously mentioned, communication with the parent/guardian is made. Unfortunately, not every parent/guardians pays the bill and every year money is owed to the food services program and is never collected. The balances from one year to the next are kept on record; however, the child begins the year with a clear account. To my knowledge, practices such as Galloway’s exist is virtually every school and that our policies are as friendly or even more friendly than other schools.
"Because of professional ethics and rules of confidentiality, I am limited in what I can share about the parent/child speaking with the media. The Principal did advise me that last year there was a situation where the child felt embarrassed by something that happened in the lunch line. An apology was offered for the instance that occurred. Again, that was last year. When the parent recently visited school and paid into the child’s account, she spoke to the cafeteria manager in person and absolutely no concerns were raised. It should be noted that I am not aware of any situation this year that resembles what is being reported on the news with this child or any other child.
"For detailed information regarding our Food Services program, please see the link on our district website. As always, parent/guardians with concerns or questions about any situation are encouraged to address it at the level of the concern and, if not satisfied, take the concern to a higher level. Thank you and please be assured that we remain a school district where children and learning come first."
Annette C. Giaquinto, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Meeting the Standard of Excellence
609.748.1250, ext. 1011 or 1016