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USSchool district refuses CEO's offer to pay off lunch debt

04:00  24 july  2019
04:00  24 july  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

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A school district threatened parents over lunch debt . Now, a CEO says it refused his offer to pay . This week, a CEO said the district refused his offer to cover the cost. Wyoming Valley West School District sent threatening letters to parents demanding they pay off their children' s school

The Pennsylvania school district that recently sent letters warning parents their kids could be placed in foster care if they did not pay off school lunch bills is doubling down on its plan to collect more than ,000 from the families as a CEO says they have refused his offer to cover the debt .

A Pennsylvania school district was criticized last week after sending threatening letters to parents over their children's school lunch debt. This week, a CEO said the district refused his offer to cover the cost.

School district refuses CEO's offer to pay off lunch debt© WYOU screen-shot-2019-07-19-at-1-08-20-pm.png

Todd Carmichael, co-founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based La Colombe Coffee, offered to give Wyoming Valley West School District $22,000 to cover the bills that led to the warning letter, Carmichael spokesperson Aren Platt told CBS News Tuesday.

But according to Platt, school board president Joseph Mazur rejected the offer during a phone conversation Monday. Platt said Mazur said the parents who owe the money can afford to pay it, and it should not be covered by Carmichael.

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School district threatens foster care over unpaid lunches . (CNN) The CEO of a Philadelphia coffee company says that the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, school "I've personally received five offers from both local and some other people from outside the state to pay off the lunch debts ," he said

But the district ' s school board president, Joseph Mazur, initially refused Carmichael' s offer , arguing that the lunch money is owed by parents who can afford to pay . Carmichael responded by saying the offer was still on the table. "Mr. Mazur, I am offering to pay this debt in full," he wrote in a letter sent

"I said, irrespective of ability to pay we want to cover it," Platt said. "He said no and hung up."

According to a letter obtained by CBS Scranton affiliate WYOU, parents were told to pay the balance owed for their child's lunches or risk being reported to Luzerne County dependency court.

School district refuses CEO's offer to pay off lunch debt© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Wyoming Valley West School District sent threatening letters to parents demanding they pay off their children's school lunch debt or risk them being placed in foster care.

"Your child has been sent to school every day without money and without breakfast and/or lunch," the letter said. "This is a failure to provide your child with proper nutrition and you can be sent to Dependency Court for neglecting your child's right to food."

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Pennsylvania school district accepts CEO ' s offer to cover the ,000 cost of outstanding lunch bills after threatening to have children placed in foster care if parents didn't pay their debt . La Colombe Coffee CEO Todd Carmichael offered to give Wyoming Valley West School District ,000 to wipe

“But school board President Joseph Mazur rejected the offer during a phone conversation Monday, Carmichael spokesman Aren Platt said Tuesday. Mazur argued that money is owed by parents who can afford to pay , Platt said.” So the issue is not that these parents cannot afford to pay , they refuse to

The letter goes on to say that their child could be at risk of being placed in foster care if the parents go to court. It asks parents to pay the debt in order to avoid being reported to authorities.

"I know what it means to be hungry," Carmichael wrote in a letter to local papers Monday. "I know what it means to feel shame for not being able to afford food." He said that his offer still stands if the school district wants to reconsider.

However, Luzerne County officials said they absolutely would not remove children from their homes over unpaid lunch bills, WYOU reports.

"I found it very disturbing. Luzerne County Children and Youth Services executive director Joanne Van Saun told the station. "Upsetting. It's a total misrepresentation, a gross misrepresentation of what our agency does."

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A Pennsylvania school district that recently came under fire after threatening parents that their kids could be recommended to be put in foster care if they didn’t pay off their school lunch debts has turned down an offer from a local businessman to clear the debts , The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

After a school district told parents they could lose their kids over unpaid lunches , a CEO said he'd pay off the debt . The school board rejected the The president of a Pennsylvania school board whose district had warned parents behind on school lunch bills that their children could end up in

The county is asking the school district to retract the letter. According to the district, a new letter will be sent to parents that no longer uses scare tactics to request payment.

School lunch debts are affecting families across the country and have recently gained national attention. In May, after a Rhode Island school district reversed its decision to start serving cold sandwiches instead of hot lunches to students whose families owe lunch money, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya offered to pay off their debts. And in June, a 9-year-old boy in Napa, California, used his allowance to pay off classmates' school lunch debts.

It's even becoming an issue in the 2020 presidential campaign.

"'School lunch debt' should not exist in the wealthiest country in the history of the world," Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter. "When we are in the White House, we are going to provide year-round, free universal school meals."

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