CRANSTON, R.I. — A Rhode Island school district has hired a collection agency to recover unpaid lunch money.

The reason? Cranston Public Schools are now staring down more than $45,000 in unpaid lunch balances. Between September 2016 and June 2018, the district has been forced to write off nearly $100,000 worth of lunch debt, according to CBS Boston.

So, the school committee made the unanimous decision to call in the professionals to get the revenue they need to keep the school lunch program running. CBS Boston reports collections employees will start sending letters on Jan. 2 to parents who owe more than $20 and haven't paid within 60 days.

In a statement to CBS affiliate WPRI, the Parent Teacher Organization wrote:

"The district sending out a blanket email to all families threatening with collections during the holiday season seems very Scrooge-like. We have to remember that we are talking about children and helping these children to thrive regardless of their families financial status."

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