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Glitch messes up school lunch accounts

TAMPA — As many as 4,000 Hillsborough students have the wrong balance in their school lunch accounts.

District officials say the students were affected by a bug in the system that caused incorrect balances to appear. The district took down the MealpayPlus program Friday and hopes to fix the problem over the weekend.

"Every child's been fed. They were fed a regular meal," said Mary Kate Harrison, Hillsborough's general manager of student nutrition services. "We're just trying to balance every child's account correctly."

She said no money was been lost. Accurate information will be restored to the accounts.

The problem cropped up at the start of the school year. The issues were isolated and primarily affected children who had transferred over the summer.

The glitch comes as school officials continue to grapple with the aftermath of a transportation meltdown at the beginning of the year. Jammed phone lines frustrated many parents, who were unable to get even basic bus stop information after the district overhauled routes in half the county. The district still is sorting through complaints about unsafe stops and canceled service.

The meal pay issue affects far fewer students. Initially, school officials sought to resolve the problem without taking down the entire system, but that proved impossible. Harrison said the district aims to have the problem fixed by Monday, or Wednesday at the latest.

Letitia Stein can be reached at lstein@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

Glitch messes up school lunch accounts 09/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 15, 2008 10:18am]
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