school lunches and fines

August 31, 2022

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As we are about to start a new school year, on behalf of the Board of Education and all of our Administrators, we wanted to relay some very important updated protocols in regard to fines for school property and owed balances on meals.  

School Property There are times in which school property may be accidentally damaged and we will absolutely work to address the issue with you.  However, unfortunately, we do have instances of negligence, deliberately damaged school property and/or school property that is lost or never returned.  In those types of situations, fines are assessed to the student and family involved.  Out of fairness to the taxpayers of the community and all of the students who treated the school property in a respectful manner, a financial obligation is created for the student (and their family) to make up for the loss.  Our kids will make mistakes - sometimes even deliberate ones.  However, we simply ask that things be made right when that happens.

Owed Balances for Meals In addition, we often run into situations where students have outstanding balances due for meals.  

Let me very clear about a couple of issues related to owed balances for meals:

  • No student will EVER go hungry at mealtime here.  We will provide a meal for our kids, every day, regardless of balances owed.  They may not be permitted to purchase ice cream with cash when a balance is owed for actual meals but they will get a lunch (and/or breakfast) every day.

  • No one is asked to pay for a meal who cannot afford it.  These are tough times for many people and financial circumstances can change quickly.  Families can take advantage of the Free and Reduced lunch program if financial circumstances get challenging. We will work with you through short term issues.  It’s when families who have the ability to pay, simply don’t, that we have an issue.  That’s not fair to everyone else who has to pick up part of an unpaid lunch bill through their taxes for a family who could afford to pay for it.

Besides providing an education for our kids and supporting their needs the school district is responsible for being good stewards of taxpayer funds.  As you can imagine, fines can accumulate over time and become very costly.  Often, they move with the students from grade level to grade level.  By graduation, they can become overwhelming for some families.

A New Approach to Addressing Fines and Owed Meal Balances The Pennsville School District is implementing new protocols designed to stop those previous patterns from continuing.

For students who owe fines, for whatever reason, there will be limitations on extracurricular activities until balances are settled or a payment plan is established.  

We understand that a more significant fine may take some time to eliminate (a deliberately broken computer, a team uniform or equipment that goes unreturned) and we will absolutely work with a family to eliminate that obligation over time with no consequences.  That helps our students understand that there are outcomes for poor decisions and that there is a way to make things right.  It also keeps the rest of our school community from having to bear the burden for the decisions of others.  Finally, it should reduce the amount of fines carried over and accumulating from year to year.

Participation in the following activities will not be permitted if payment (or partial payment) is not made on fines and/or lunch balances by the due date approved by Principals:

  • Athletic team/sports

  • Extracurricular and Co-curricular activities

  • Dances

  • Graduation/Promotion ceremonies

  • Clubs

  • Family events 

Upon payment submission, your student will be back in good standing to be able to participate in all of these “extra” offerings until a subsequent balance payment is required (if applicable) during the school year.  This process of repayment would be coordinated between building Principals and parents.  

  • If you owe fines, please reach out to your building Principal by September 30th - at the latest.  

  • If fines are not repaid or a payment plan is not set up by November 15th, then, unfortunately, the activities listed above will not be available to your child after that date.  

Again, we want every one of our students to be able to take part in every experience that we offer.  We also want a system that is fair to all when it comes to addressing financial obligations to the school district, other families and the community.

In addition, in fairness to everyone, because lunch obligations and balances have been all over the place the last few years (due to COVID-related eligibility for free lunches) ALL outstanding lunch balances, for every student, are being eliminated as of September 1st.  Everyone starts with a clean slate when it comes to owed balances on meals and now everyone is aware of the new protocols that will be followed with the start of the school year.  Fines that were previously imposed for damage or loss to school property will remain in effect and must be repaid.

This is not an easy topic to address.  However, ignoring it or continuing as we were means that the burden shifts to those who are not responsible for creating the issue.   When incidents arise, we will work with each and every family to resolve the issue in a reasonable manner that works for all parties.

A link to policies and practices related to this issue can be found at: https://sites.google.com/pv-eagles.org/psd-devices-equipment-supplies/home

As always, please contact us with any questions.

Dr. Brodzik Superintendent of Schools