So the latest bugbear in the budget battle is School Nutrition Programs: in particular, those bad and rotten schools who are not getting the frightening looking, detailed, available only in a few languages* FRPL forms.
No doubt, $500,000 in uncollected lunch money is a drag. However, if SNS wants 100% meal forms, they're going to have to stop demanding schools come up with them without support. You want the forms? Send out administrators and volunteers to sit with parents, to come to the after school programs, to do home and community center visits and get the forms yourself. I managed to get a mess in at Parent Teacher Conferences this year, which necessitated getting a third set of forms, getting a list of whose forms weren't in, wasting conference time on getting the forms done, and paperwork. These are not tasks listed in my job responsibility.
Also, SNS didn't send a letter on lunch balances until the end of the year, and if your child has already accrued a $300 debt...it's overwhelming, even for parents who can afford it. Also, I am not going to be collecting money for SNS. I do my level best to collect and retain all K money that comes in for lunches, and I stage this drama "Money Does Not Have a Name on It" with the custodian every year (it is a big, big hit). If you want the money, send a letter by post biweekly and follow up with a phone call.
If these tasks are too difficult, then take the hit every year. It's like the Lifetouch send-home-then-pay photos: I am not a cash collection service. I do not encourage or countenance not paying, but my time needs to go into my classroom. My credits with families are carefully built over years. I am not spending them on becoming a collection agency.
Also, if you're going to publish these, you might take a moment to think about why southeast side schools "owe" more than, oh, Clarendon. The blame falls unequally, and get this: it also accrues unequally.
Aaaaand don't blame me for you running out of cash for hot lunch. This isn't a new line item. Budget it. Goodness knows the Central Office could pull it out of supplies and Legal Services (SFUSD: you lose so many access cases - stop litigating some of them!).
Aaaaaaand it's time for SNS to take the time to send out a damn flyer on how lunch needs to happen. They assume the principals will do this. Experience should show that they don't. Everything I know about school lunch (don't touch it myself, make the kids take everything, etc.) I either knew before I started in this district or learned from the Chronicle.
*Online availability assumes computer access, SNS and friends.