News & Resources

Lunch debt, biometrics hamper Idaho schools

Dec 02, 2011 Mike Garretson

The Kuna, Idaho, school district has racked up an estimated $18,000 in school lunch debt, and board members are planning to take drastic action to recoup the funds, the Kuna Melba News reports. Officials are expected to consider a proposal next month to receive help with collections from a professional agency, as, according to school district food service director Val Swanson, some families owe as much as $500 or $600. She adds that there's one three-student family that owes $1,100 but has since left the school. Under the proposal, the agency Kuna board members are considering would charge a 33 percent fee for its services, according to district business manager Bryan Fletcher. This isn't the first time Idaho has had to deal with lunch debt issues. The Times-News reported in 2007 that Twin Falls schools experimented with a biometric finger scan system that resulted in up to $600 in unpaid lunches, the highest unpaid lunch balance in the school district's history. Fingerprint scanners have been popping up in schools across the country, with many parents concerned about how it affects their children's privacy. "Giving up that kind of private information ... the price is too high," said Kiondra Bullock, a Spokane, Washington, parent whose child attends a biometric-enabled school, as quoted by KXLY-TV.