Area school districts are keeping thousands of dollars in unclaimed lunch money

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thousands of dollars parents put into their child's lunch money account are going unused and not being returned.

When your child graduates or leaves the district, many schools in the area do not return the unused lunch money unless you request it in a certain time frame.

When it comes to many districts, for a child to pay for a school lunch, parents must go online and set up an account and load money into that account.

Often, it's done via credit card. As the student uses the money, it's deducted for their account and any unused funds do carry over from year to year.

The issue of unused funds come up when a student graduates or withdraws from the district.

Wake County Schools

For the Wake County district, last school year more than $160,610 was not claimed by graduating seniors and students who withdrew from the district.

Here is how much was left over the last five school years:

Wake County Schools

Lisa Luten a spokesperson for the Wake County Public School Systems said, "All funds are part of the child nutrition's operating budget. The county does not notify parents about balances."

On their website, they do give you a form you must fill out to request a refund from your child's account.

Students who withdraw or graduate during the school year need to request a refund by June 30 of that same year.

Cumberland County Schools

The Cumberland County School District also has had thousands of dollars in unclaimed funds. Last school year $12,863.98 was left by withdrawn students and graduating seniors.

Cumberland County Schools

A representative with Cumberland County Schools said, "Upon request from the parent within 60 days from the date of student withdrawal, positive balances will be refunded to the parent by Child Nutrition Services. We offer an online service that permits parents access to their children's accounts to monitor balances, make pre-payments, and see the student's purchase history. That is the The positive balances of withdrawn students that are not refunded are retained in the CNS account."

Durham County Schools

For Durham County Schools, a representative told ABC11 there is $7,629.75 in the account for students who are no longer active.

"Funds which are unclaimed after one year from withdrawn students are held in the student prepayment account in School Nutrition in case a request for funds is made at a future date. Refunds can be requested at any time until one year after a student graduates or becomes withdrawn. At that point, the student is deleted from the database," he added.

Durham County Schools

He also said DPS does not notify individuals about account balances because all parents or guardians have access to the student accounts online for free through the K-12 Payment Center.