School lunch account debt tops $300,000 in one Lowcountry school district

School lunches (File/WCIV)

All of those chips and cookies add up on a student’s lunch account.

It’s a debt that parents are liable for, but may not have a handle on.

It’s adding up, only halfway through the school year.

Parents get a text alert when their child has a low account balance for school lunch.

According to the data, it looks like a fair share of those texts go by the wayside.

Parents be warned: That debt can still be sent to the collections office at the end of the school year.

We sent a freedom of information act request to Lowcountry school districts to get the amount of school lunch debt owed by parents.

Students in Dorchester District 4 gets a free breakfast and lunch through the community eligibility program provided by the USDA.

Those students have no lunch debt.

But it’s a different story in other counties.

This school year, Dorchester District 2 students have already racked up more than $136,000 in lunch debt. The highest single amount was $289 for one student’s debt account.

In Berkeley County, 11 schools offer the USDA program for free breakfast and lunch for students.

But still, the debt in that district has ballooned to $302,000—already $70,000 more than last year’s total.

Berkeley County School District officials attribute the increase to the unprecedented growth in the district.

Charleston County School District states it currently has $88,000 in school lunch debt. There are 54 schools in the district that participate in the free breakfast and lunch program through the USDA.

For school district’s carrying debt, ultimately the taxpayers will have to absorb it.

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