South Carolina passes bill banning schools sending lunch debt to collection agencies

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A public school education bill aimed to end the practice of school districts sending student school lunch debt to a collection agency was unanimously passed in the SC House and the SC Senate. The bill is now headed to Gov. Henry McMaster's desk.

The bill, H.3006, stops public schools and school districts from using debt collection agencies to collect outstanding debts from students. It also prohibits them from adding interest or any fees on top of existing debt.

State Representative Wendy Brawley who sponsored the bill said:

Sending student lunch debt to a collection agency that adds penalties and fees jeopardizes a parent’s credit and could impact their ability to keep a roof over the family’s head. The fact that both the House and Senate unanimously voted in favor of my bill to end this practice shows that legislators, Republicans, and Democrats, recognize the importance of ensuring that no child should face going hungry at school for fear of their parent’s inability to afford a school lunch.

According to the USDA's Food Assistance Landscape annual report, roughly 29.7 million children participated in the National School Lunch Program each school day in 2018.The School Nutrition Association said that 75 percent of school districts nationwide reported having unpaid student meal debt at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

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