According to an article in the New York Times, New York city school principals are being encouraged by their Education Department to collect overdue lunch money or have it docked from their school budgets. This situation isn't just unique to New York. A school district in Albuquerque started serving cold sandwiches and milk to students whose parents had not paid what they owed. In Louisiana, some districts did not feed children with overdue accounts at all until the state legislature passed a law that required these children to at least be fed a snack. For students that were fed a snack at least three days in a row, districts were directed to notify child welfare authorities.
A September survey of the School Nutrition Association showed that during 2009-2010, 34% of school districts saw an increase from the previous year in the number of meals not paid for.