The Salt Lake City School District has been looking at hiring a public relations firm using taxpayer dollars after being criticized nationally for taking lunches away from children with low or zero balances in their lunch account. According to a report published by the Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday, members of the board solicited proposals from local agencies with a deadline of last Friday.
School board president Kristi Swett, vice president Heather Bennett, and district Superintendent McKell Withers sent out a call for proposals from seven area pr firms, asking them to keep the budget at $49,999 - $1 below the amount that would require full school board approval. The possible expenditure was not discussed at a board study session last Tuesday and was not mentioned at the board meeting held earlier this month. Estimated cost of the lunches that were tossed is $60-$80. School lunches are available for $2.
According to district spokesman Jason Olsen, it will be on the March 4 agenda. At that time, the board will decide if it will approve payments to Vox Creative for any public relations work.
Late last January between 30 and 40 students at Uintah Elementary had there lunches taken away and thrown in the trash causing humiliation for the students, angst for staff, and a public relations nightmare for administrators. Angry parents and others have complained and petitioned the board.
The school district has apologized and changed its policy that lunch, with the exception of fruit and milk, be denied children without money in their accounts. In a statement released February 7, the district announced, “Students in all Salt Lake School District schools will always receive a full meal, even if the have a negative balance.” The school lunch worker who was placed on leave after following orders from administrators returned to work last week.
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Source: Salt Lake Tribune, FOX13 Now, Washington Times