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Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV

Glitch in system cause of school lunch incident, representative says

By Devon Dolan | Posted - Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:19pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — A board meeting was held Tuesday to discuss the issue of why several students went without lunch at Uintah Elementary School Jan. 29. Representatives said the unpaid balances for the student's lunch accounts stemmed from a glitch in the school's new payment system.

A few dozen students at Uintah Elementary School in the Salt Lake City School District went without lunch Jan. 29 after they were told they did not have enough money in their school accounts. Representatives with Child Nutrition Services said the problem came from a new system, "My Payments Plus," that was installed at the beginning of the school year.

Child Nutrition Services director Kelly Orton admitted that the department didn't follow procedures. Orton said that parents were either not given enough time to add money into lunch accounts for their children or that parents weren't notified at all of the low funds.

"Unfortunately, we failed and we took trays and embarrassed students and for this I am sorry," Orton said. "We weren't effective in getting the word out to the community that it was there and how to operate it."

The previous system notified parents when their child's account reached $10. However, "My Payments Plus" won't send a notice unless parents request it. Child Nutrition Services claims a letter was sent out.

"To me it feels like not taking the responsibility where it needs to be," said parent Sarah Turley. "We did not get any notices."

Orton said that the company has changes it would like to implement with the program. Effective immediately, parents will be notified at a $10 balance and each day that there are negative funds. Students will also be able to receive full meals for up to a week.

"We feel no child should be denied a lunch ever," said parent Ashley Hoopes.

Parents said they still feel that the school needs to release an apology.


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