HELENA – On Wednesday, an anonymous $2,500 donation was made to Helena Public Schools to help pay down delinquent meal accounts.
On Thursday, officials emphasized just how dire the current size of that meal account deficit is.
Helena Public Schools Superintendent Tyler Ream says that total stands at around $98,000.
He says it fluctuates throughout the day, adding that the figure is on par with the fourth quarter deficit for the last several years.
Ream says some of that will be paid off by parents as they realize they’re in the negative, and some will be paid by the district by taking from other areas of the budget.
He says what’s most important is that the kids get the food they need.
“It is an absolute requirement for their health and their well being and for their education,” added the superintendent. “So it’s something that we gladly do, and I think it’s an important part of the day-to-day functions of a school district. On the other side, when we’re bringing on a debt like $98,000, that comes out of the overall general overall pot of funding that we have.”
Ream says he understands a family’s circumstances can change at any time, so parents are welcome to apply for the free and reduced meal plan at any time during the school year — not just in the fall.
He added how grateful they are for the anonymous donor’s generosity.
-Reported by Melissa Jensen/MTN News