January 9 2009, 8:52 AM
Pay your lunchroom bills, you bums, or forget a hot meal today. That's the message sent to "dozens" of elementary and middle school students in Steamboat Springs by Max Huppert, public schools director of nutritional services. Huppert tells the Steamboat Pilot & Today that he "saturated" kids with notices, warning that if they accrued $6 or more in lunchroom debt--the cost of two meals--they'd be turned away. Younger kids who couldn't cough up the dough were given free peanuts, sunflower seeds, and other snacks on Monday and later peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But middle and high schoolers were cut off if their bills weren't paid. Students on the "free lunch" program pay 40 cents instead of $3 a meal and were threatened with no lunch if their accounts hit $1.40. The story has been picked up by Fox News, which reports that at least the district's lunch program has recouped about half the $10,000 it is owed. No news organization has reported whether the children caught in the fray would recoup their faith in adults.