Students owe almost $20,000

Taft Union High School students, including the class of 2019 that just graduated, owe a total of nearly $20,000 in unpaid cafeteria charges.

Seniors left with more than $4,000 owed to the cafeteria, according to a report from Chief Business Official Josh Bryant.

Bryant said the school is aggressively trying to collect money owed and has actually made a dent in the money owed, but students are still $19,339.92 in debt.

"Fortunately, we’ve been able to reduce the overall debt by about $2,500 compared to where we started," Bryant wrote in a report dated May 30. "However, this debt has accumulated over multiple years, was not followed up upon during 2017-18, and can’t be undone in a single year."

Bryant said several approaches are being used to get students or their parents to pay up and reduce the number of students accruing bills.
The District is now using the Titan Meal Management System, which allows parents with internet access to log in a see their child's bills and make payments.

It also allows parents of students eligible for free and reduced meals to complete the online application, and that means fewer unpaid charges.

In addition, “letters to parents of children with cafeteria debt are sent out several times a year,” Bryant said.

"We will continue to make notifications via all methods available in order to help bring the Cafeteria fund as whole as possible," he said.

The Class of 2019's total bill is $4,147.25.

Fourteen seniors owe more than $100, and the highest individual debt is $944.

Sophomores and juniors owe even more.

Juniors owe $6,021.76 with 14 owing more than $100, and the highest individual balance is $710.75.

Sophomores owe $5,250.55 with 17 students owing more than $100. The highest individual balance is highest balance is $612.00

Freshman have had only one year for the debt to add up and owe a total of $3,920.36. Nine students owe more than $100 and the highest individual balance is $315.50.