The September 15th Boston Globe reports that the town of Wellesley has started using constables to pursue families who allegedly owe money for unpaid school meals: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2011/09/15/in_wellesley_and_framingham_schools_struggle_to_collect_unpaid_lunch_money/?rss_id=Boston+Globe+--+Globe+West Framingham suspended the process of constables last year after Metro West Legal Services and the Department of Education (DOE) starting investigating, and after Framingham found it was administratively costly with little return.
PLEASE let us know ASAP if you hear from any low-income families from Wellesley - or any other cities or towns - that are being pursued by schools for unpaid meals from prior school years or are being denied school meals right now. We especially want to know if any low-income families subject to collection activities had a family member receiving SNAP or TAFDC benefits, but the school failed to process the child for free school meals and the unpaid fees accumulated. We also want to know if there are any families with a current SNAP or TAFDC member being denied free school meals now for a past debt (even if the school child is not a SNAP or TAFDC recipient but another household member is or was). And please flag any foster families being denied or charged for meals (foster kids are eligible for free meals, and foster families may also qualify for free or reduced meals for their own kids using a higher gross income test). While Wellesley is clear not largest SNAP town in MA, there are approximately 150 SNAP recipients (data as of Jan 2011).
If you are aware of families, please contact myself, or MLRI's new AmeriCorps attorney, Helene Newberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or at x 306.