USD-437 parents upset over collection letters for unknown bills

USD-437 is facing questions from several parents who say they received collections letters claiming they owed money, most say they weren’t aware about.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - USD-437 is facing questions from several parents who say they received collections letters claiming they owed money, most say they weren’t aware about.

“I’m like I’m going to fight this and I’m just going to keep talking and I’m going to keep showing my proof and my paper work I’ve got it here. I’ve printed it they can’t take it away from me,” says USD-437 parent, Melissa Wescott.

With three children including a special needs child, Melissa Wescott, says her family has always received free or reduced meals, text books and technologies.

That’s why she was surprised to receive a $400 collections notice for money it said she owed the Auburn-Washburn School District.

“I do not have a problem paying for something we owe but I’m not gonna pay for something we do not owe,” says Wescott.

Wescott says the school never sent notification.

Once she spoke out, she says several families contacted her with similar issues.

“I’ve been the one here doing all the research, everyone is contacting me like what do I do? what do I do? and I’m like I don’t know look at me. what do I do?,” says Wescott.

USD-437′s director of communications, Martin Weishaar says the district did notify parents before contacting collections.

He said the district informs parents of outstanding fees at the end of each school year, later sending unpaid bills to collections.

But due to the pandemic, fees from the 2019 to 2021 school years were not forwarded until this year.

“This information was shared at enrollment. It was available 24/7 to parents throughout the year. They received letters from us and from the agency that we forwarded this to in the mail prior to anything going forward, so it wasn’t that they were just surprised by this at the last minute,” says Weishaar.

Weishaar said the district is a happy to speak with parents, and look at any documents that prove error.

“I think that the issue here is that an individual may have always done it a certain way so they assumed that they met the qualifications or that it was going to be processed the same way but this is an annual process and every year we start over,” says Weishaar.