Vantage West Credit Union Paid Off $27,000 in Student Lunch Debt
Posted by Amanda Guyton on February 27, 2023
Vantage West Credit Union, based in Arizona, has paid off the total fall 2022 lunch debt for Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) students, alleviating a significant financial burden for 1,375 students and the district. Vantage West’s contribution was made in support of the credit union’s commitment to “invest in people today to achieve a more prosperous tomorrow.”
“Education is fundamental to ensuring students are set up for success in life. School districts should be able to prioritize education, and students should focus on their studies. Neither should have to worry about how to pay for meals,” said Sandra Sagehorn-Elliott, President/CEO of Vantage West Credit Union.
Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo shared, “school lunch debt can be detrimental to not only the students’ families but also the school district, since meals are provided to students even when they are not able to pay for them. As a result, school districts are incurring thousands of dollars in meal debt that families often are not able to pay. This meal debt impacts other areas of educational funding. School districts have received some relief from bipartisan legislative efforts such as the Keep Kids Fed Act, but much of that funding is temporary and does not cover expenses from meal debt.”
While education administrators and legislators work to find a more viable solution to the lunch debt problem, generosity from community partners such as Vantage West can help ensure that the schools and students can stay focused on education.
“Vantage West has a proud track record of providing financial support, as well as volunteer hours and gently used computer equipment for schools across the state. In fact, educational opportunity is one of the four focus areas for our community giving program that is expected to equal more than $700,000 in 2023,” said Andrew Downin, Vantage West’s Chief Marketing and Digital Officer.
Vantage West leadership presented TUSD with a check for $27,230.40 to pay off the outstanding fall 2022 student lunch debt at the Feb.16 Tucson Unified School Board meeting.
Tucson Unified School District is Southern Arizona’s largest district, educating more than 45,000 students. TUSD offers extensive learning opportunities for children, including Advanced Placement, GATE, and International Baccalaureate, free full-day kindergarten, a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), studies in seven world languages, fine arts, before and after school programs, and more. TUSD has proudly served Tucson families since 1867.