Good Samaritan Offers To Pay Students School Lunch Debt - School Board Rejects Offer, Then Reverses Decision

John Romero | July 25, 2019
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In Pennsylvania, the school district Wyoming Valley West School District found itself in the national media cycle. The school district had made headlines after a letter had been sent home to parents of students who had outstanding lunch debt.

The letter, sent to about 1,000 parents said.

You can be sent to dependency court for neglecting your child's right to food. The result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care.

The lawyer for the school district Charles Coslett when asked about the letter was quoted saying,

Hopefully, that gets their [the parents] attention and it certainly did, didn't it? I mean, if you think about it, you're here this morning because some parents cried foul because he or she doesn't want to pay a debt attributed to feeding their kids. How shameful.

After this made headlines, CEO and co-founder of La Colombe Coffee Roasters Todd Carmichael had reached out to the school district saying he would personally pay to eliminate the school district's lunch debt of over $22,000. An incredible act of kindness that would help a district that faces higher poverty rates than the rest of the state.

The school board district president, Joseph Mazur rejected the offer saying that the parents can afford to pay this debt back according to ABC News. Mazur said that "The position of Mr. Carmichael is irrespective of affluence, irrespective of need. He just wants to wipe away this debt." 

Carmichael was firm that his offer stands.

Late Wednesday, the school board changed its mind, apologizing for the letter and deciding to accept the generous offer.

According to PAHomepage:

"The Wyoming Valley West school board sincerely apologizes for the tone of the letter that was sent regarding lunch debt. It wasn’t the intention of the district to harm or inconvenience any of the families in our school district.”

The letter from the board also said that it would accept the donation from Carmichael to pay off the $22,000 in overdue bills.


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