$96 worth of school lunches!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wakeupcall, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Yes, you read it right!!!! OMGosh...WHAT is he thinking?? difficult child's intermediate school has a meal-pay-plus plan which allows me to put $$ into a lunch account for him so he doesn't have to carry money back and forth. I THOUGHT it was a great idea. Well, guess what? The kid is buying lunches for everyone in the school!!! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw he'd spent $96 in the last ten school days!!!!! I shoulda known he wasn't a bit responsible......I musta been smokin' something when I put $110 in his account. From now on we/HE will pack his lunch. I should have known to not try to make anything easy where he's concerned. ARG....................................
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Oh, my! What a shocker that must be! I'd just want to ring his little neck!

    Definately not funny now, but this is one of those things that will probably be funny in say, 20 years down the road....
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    :faint:Oh my! :surprise:
  4. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Ugh !!! I must say though...that the food can be expensive...I know the school lunch in the elementary school costs $2.40 and if they buy an extra drink instead of milk...that's $1.00 and another snack for $.075...it can be as much as $4.50 a day...which is why I don't let my kids buy !!!! Did you find out what he was purchasing extra meals or extra snacks???
  5. AtThe Brink

    AtThe Brink New Member

    Can you set it ups so that he is allowed only 1 "regular" lunch? Not ala carte items and no buying for friends.?
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    What I want to know is why someone didn't catch it...? My kid can buy a double lunch for himself and maybe a few a la carte items but he'd definitely be stopped for anything beyond that.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I am surprised the cafeteria was not aware of this. Did he know how much you deposited?
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    We have this system at our schools, too. It was implemented several years ago...easy child was in elementary school and he's a junior in high school now. The first year or two, I had to stay on top of it. easy child wasn't buying lunch for anyone else, but the cashiers hadn't been properly trained and they were posting his money to others accounts and charging him for lunches he didn't buy, etc. At that time, easy child didn't buy lunch, just a milk, so when we kept getting notices that his account was low or overdrawn I would ask for a transcript of purchases.

    It happened all the time initally. I asked them how they were going to get through the state audit (the state auditor's office audits all agencies that receive public funds every year) if they couldn't figure out how to do the lunch money. What really ticked me off, is they didn't give you a choice. So, if I didn't have any change and gave easy child $1.00 for milk they wouldn't give him change...it would just go into his account. When they couldn't get it right, that really annoyed me. They've since worked out the bugs, though.

    Now that he's in high school, I've checked his transcript a couple of times when it seemed he was going through money too fast. A couple of times he has bought lunch for his friends (which I don't mind as long as they pay him back), but mostly it's the ala carte items he's buying. Or not buying the regular lunch and getting something else instead...pizza, nachos, whatever. It is expensive. If he buys a powerade in the lunch line it's $2.00, but if he buys it out of the vending machine it's only $1.00.

    I'm sure there are some limits that can be put on this. I would take it up with the cashier and then the food service supervisor if you don't get anywhere. $96.00 in 10 days is ridiculous. Someone should have caught that.
  9. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Does add up quickly -- a soda for this friend, an apple for that one, some fries for him, two slices of pizza and there's probably $12.00 just for one day -- at least that's the way it was at my daughter's middle and high schools. And that was 7 years ago. He could have easily spent that much just for himself if he bought from the specialty carts rather than the cafeteria. The sad thing is my daughter would buy her "friends" things and then they would leave her high and dry while they went to their clique.

    I didn't stop her from buying lunch -- it really was too much of a stigma at her school if she brought lunch. However, I checked the prices, put enough in her account for two weeks at a time. There was no extra money added if that money was spent -- she would either have to take her lunch or do without. Her choice. I found it was a good way for her to start learning about managing money. Of course, I'm still trying to find a good way to teach her how to manage money. May yours get it before he is 25. I think mine might understand the concept by the time she is 30. (We can dream, right?)
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    YIKES!!! I could see K doing that... "Will you buy me lunch?" "OK"... I have been in the lunch room and have seen kids who had no money nor lunch... K would feel bad for them and buy them lunch... Luckily we don't have to deal with this YET!!!

    Why is their so much to think about... these kids!!!
  11. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    Ahhhh! Oh my goodness!!!! I agree with discussing something with the school in terms of letting them know the specifics that he will NOT buy school for the entire school/class...or even a friend! I didn't even know you could DO that! Kind of makes me worried about my son. Eek!

    Put something in writing with the lunch lady. Heck! Put a picture up with a warning and have them tape it on the caf wall! Hahaha
    Like a WANTED poster. :cigarsmoker:

    There has to be a way around that.

    Good luck, Dear!
  12. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    See that makes no sense to me. I don't understand how they could let that happen. We have a similiar system but even if the kids run out of money they will still let them buy we just have to have it all made up or they don't get awards and or their diploma.

    easy child occaisionally buys for others but they in turn buy for her afterwards (cuz she isn't going without food). This type of stuff bothers me tons.

    Good luck on this one.

  13. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Realistically, you don't really think the lunch ladies are watching your kids face when going through the line do you?
    I know in grade school the teachers give the once over to make sure kids are eating decent food and not junk but have you been in a lunch room? It's absolute pandemonium.
    It would be great to think that it would have been caught but if a child goes through his money it's between the parents and the child. You can get a print out of his spending.
    It's not quite clear to me why someone else should be responsible besides the child and the parents.

    If you run out of money in grade school where my son's went to school, you get a plain peanut butter sandwich. The kids are embarrassed but they aren't hungry.

    My son will go through money like water if he isn't held accountable and limits set.

    96.00 is a huge amount of money. I think the consequence of him making his own lunch and taking it is reasonable.
  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I think I would make a call to school and find out what if any procedures they have in place to prevent kids from doing this. You would think there would be a general limit on what could be spent from one account per day programmed into the computer system.
  15. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I was just made aware of how much was spent. I had been watching it pretty closely on the mealpayplus program, but this week I let down my guard with working, Halloween, etc. (you all know how tied up ya can get!). I, too, doubt if there are any procedures in place to prevent this. (His intermediate school is very large.) It's a family "problem" that we need to get through. I like the idea of only putting $$ in for two weeks (something else to watch over) at a time. For the time being, HE is going to pack his lunch. He's already throwing a fit over the bologna I bought and little packages of chips/cheetos, etc. I guess I thought he was doing pretty well. I also bought him a cell phone for his 12th birthday with PREpaid minutes and he's been managing that pretty well. As usual, I'm just very disappointed in him. Maybe he'll never be responsible....that's what scares me.
  16. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm with Fran. This is not a kindergartner, this is a kid in middle school. The school should not be responsible at this point. It really is one of those natural consequences things -- you spend the money too soon, you don't have lunch or you take your lunch. Asking the school to babysit is not the school's job -- they are there to teach.
  17. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Pamela, don't be so hard on yourself.
    He is 12 and I think it's typical teen to stumble along the way. A difficult child does it a lot.
    My easy child went to a movie with a friend. One of the one's where you can sit and order a hamburger while watching the movie. He knew he was supposed to tip so he gave her 5.00 for a 4.95 bill!!!!!! What was he thinking. Fortunately, easy child was taught and learned about percents and correctly tipping a server. He had to be 12 to 14yrs old.

    What I'm saying is these are the years when they are getting their toe in the water regarding independence. Some don't get it all at once.

    Sort of like kids thinking money comes from the ATM machine. You have to teach them that the money comes from work and saving to pay for bills. I had to finally tell them "I can pay for a kid's meal or I can pay the electric bill". They didn't get it automatically. It's been interesting to realize that not all kids, especially my difficult child get the connection between their action, money and how it affects the budget.

    He should be grateful beyond belief for the bologna. Tell him not to push it. :nonono:
  18. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I disagree. When the schools don't give you a choice but to use the debit card system, they have to be aware of possible misuse. They encourage you to send in money ahead of time, write a check instead of using cash, etc. If they are going to force you to use this system and encourage you to pay ahead of time (we get notices when the balance is down to 3 days of lunches...in middle school you only get one lunch once your account is depleted and in high school you get none), then they need to have safety guards, as in limits on how much can be spent, etc.

    The cards our schools use have the students picture on them and the cashier at the high school knew who easy child was and told me what he gets most of the time before looking it up. They know who the kids are. Not only that, but the kids names come up on the screen when they slide the card.
  19. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    wyntersgrace, your system sounds much more advanced than ours, which already seemed archaic when they implemented it. Ours was supposed to be a fingerprint scan but it has never worked properly so the kids input a password instead. Plus there were parents that weren't comfortable with the school having a digital scan of their student's fingerprint.

    Parents can only pay by cash or check (no debit or credit cards) and instead of making it easy on the kids and putting the drop box conveniently located near the gym where all kids enter, they have it by the cafeteria where kids have to go out of their way in the morning to make the deposit. We never get notices of when the account is running low and (get this) the default meal if your account dips below zero and they need to "loan" you a meal is peanut butter and saltines. Yup, as districts throughout the nation ban PB, ours dishes it up by default.

    I do like to be able to see what's been purchased and easy child likes not having to carry money every day, but the system definitely leaves much to be desired.
  20. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    We don't get to see by default what's been purchased. However, you can call the cashier and request a transcript (or whatever it's called). The notification that the account is getting low is given to the students, so difficult child has often had to 'charge' a lunch (they give you 3 in elementary school and one in middle school) because she would forget to give it to me. After you've charged the maximum amount of lunches, in elementary school they got Crustables and in middle school they got peanut butter and graham crackers. In high school, you're just out of luck.

    Our system wasn't as advanced as it is in the beginning. But, they had so much trouble with money being posted to the wrong account and the wrong account being charged for purchases that they went with a new system.

    I do agree that students have to take responsibility for how they spend their lunch money. However, kids will be kids and there needs to be some limits put in place. I'm pretty sure I could tell our school to only let them use x amount per day and they would set their system accordingly. I simply can't afford to feed everyone else.

    As for natural consequences, I think packing a lunch and using MB's suggestion are wonderful.