Vantage West, one of Arizona’s largest credit unions, has committed to paying off the total fall 2022 lunch debt for Tucson Unified 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 presented TUSD with the check for $27,230.40 at the February 16, 2023 Governing Board meeting.