School districts across the state say they are battling rising lunch debt because more students are arriving without money to pay for their meals.
The increased debt has forced some districts to take steps that could eventually include turning delinquent accounts over to collection agencies.
The jump in delinquencies comes as more students are qualifying for free or reduced price meals because of the recession.
School Nutrition Association spokeswoman Sara Gasiorowski says one southern Indiana district had a negative lunch balance of $25,000 to $30,000 last year.
She says school lunch programs are supposed to be self-supporting, so rising debt is a problem for districts.