Anoka-Hennepin enlists debt collectors to get lunch money

The Anoka-Hennepin School District wants its lunch money.

The school district will bring in debt collectors starting in January to help locate $160,000 in unpaid meal fees.

Noah Atlas, director of child nutrition for the district, says meal debt grew by almost 50 percent between the last two school years.

"We had quite a bit of debt that has been rung up in the district — it's about 1 percent of the population," Atlas said. "And all we've done at this point is worked out a policy with the school board of what we'll be doing to help get that debt taken care of."

Atlas says the district will be reaching out to parents to let them know about the debt collection plan and try to set up ways to pay the district back for the meals. Parents who refuse to set up payment plans will be referred to the collection agency.