Stewartville school board unanimously approves changes to school - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Stewartville school board unanimously approves changes to school lunch policy

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A school lunch policy drawing criticism across the state was up for discussion Monday night.

The Stewartville Public Schools board looked at some revisions not long after KTTC reported on the policy that gave students with negative lunch balances alternative meals. 

The changes unanimously passed. It took the board less than 20 minutes to go over the revisions.

 The majority of the changes reflect assuring all students have access to a school lunch, that those lunches meet USDA standards, and notifying parents about account balances each week. 

The district will no longer provide an alternate meal to students with a negative account. That's because all students will be allowed to purchase a meal even if they have insufficient funds. The cost of that alternate meal was $1 and was charged to the student's account. 

Cashiers can no longer verbally remind students they need to bring money. That conversation will only happen between parents and the district. This revision is aimed at reducing shaming students, something that was important to some of tonight's attendees. 

 "I have been in education any anything like this is going to promote bullying. I don't think children need to have that," said Anna Ahriman, a retired teacher and Stewartville resident.

Families can also now apply for free or reduced price meals any time during the school year, not just at the beginning of the year. 

Weekly notifications like a text message or phone call will also be sent to families at the beginning of the week regardless of balance. An additional notification will go out at the end of the week to families with a negative account. 

One school board member read a statement after the revision passed. He said they did not anticipate any shaming of students when the policy was proposed in October. He also apologized to the impacted students and their families, saying the school board takes full responsibility. 

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