The Durango School District 9-R board reviewed school lunch policy Tuesday after a sign posted at Miller Middle School in April announced partial lunches would be served to students with debt.
The sign sparked a Facebook fundraiser to ensure students could eat full meals.
Board members did not come to any decision about changes to the lunch policy during their work session, but they did discuss the sign and fundraiser that raised $830 in three days to pay off student debt.
The sign was in violation of the school’s policy, Superintendent Dan Snowberger told the board.
“This was definitely a situation that was mishandled at the school and that’s been rectified,” he said.
If a similar sign was posted at another school, it has not been reported, he said.
The school’s policy says students who do not qualify for free and reduced lunch and owe for three meals will be served a partial lunch. Partial lunches consist of a cheese stick and fruit or a granola bar and fruit, according to the school’s website.
Board President Nancy Stubbs asked if the partial lunches are substantial enough to sustain students through the day.
Deputy Superintendent Andy Burns said the partial lunch policy is well within federal and state standards.
When students are served partial lunches, it is meant to be done discretely and not come as a surprise to students, he said.
The district notifies parents who can afford to pay for lunches about debt through text messages and emails, Snowberger said.
Miller Middle School employee Robyn Baxendale started the fundraiser to pay off the lunch debt and submitted a list of suggestions to the board to improve the district’s lunch policy.
She suggested setting up a district-wide donation fund through Durango Education Foundation to cover lunch debt, among other changes.
Snowberger said he connected her with the foundation to work on the issue. “She really has a passion to raise dollars,” he said.
The parent-teacher organizations at many elementary schools already raise money to cover school lunch debt, he said.
The Facebook fundraiser was concerning to the district, in part, because anyone could claim to be raising money for the district on the social medial platform. Facebook also charges high administration fees. Raising money through the foundation takes care of those concerns, he said.