KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — New developments late Wednesday in the Wyoming Valley West school-lunch-letter controversy. The Wyoming Valley West School District has issued an apology for the tone of a previous letter threatening to send children into the Foster Care System for unpaid debts.
This comes as State Representative Aaron Kaufer says he brokered a deal for the school district to accept a $22,000 donation from a businessman who wanted to pay off all of the overdue lunch bills.
“This whole story has taken on a life of its own, and it should have never started with the letter that went out originally. It was frustrating to start from that point. But, I think there are a lot of people here who are part of the working-class poor of our area. People who did not qualify for these programs, but some of them are families really struggling,” Representative Kaufer said of the situation. “At the end of the day, when someone offers money to our school district and someone is willing to make a contribution to our Educational Foundation—which is where this money is going, I don’t know how you say no to someone willing to contribute money to help out our school district.”
Last week, the school district sent letters to 39 parents with overdue bills. The letters included threats of taking the parents to Dependency Court and having their children taken away. There is a general agreement that the letters were too heavy-handed.
The school board has not commented on this afternoon’s development, but Kaufer says it was never clear that the parents who were delinquent were having financial problems and he says the school board will still try to collect.