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Tucson Unified School District Announces that Vantage West Credit Union will pay off $27,000 in student lunch debt

Media Contacts:                                                                                                     


Jill Casey Pintor, VP Corporate Communications
Vantage West Credit Union
[email protected]


Leslie Lenhart, Director of Communications
Tucson Unified School District
[email protected]

Vantage West leadership hopes the credit union’s donation will raise awareness of the need and inspire other business leaders to consider how they might help offset the costs of future lunch debt.

TUCSON, AZ (February 8, 2023) — Vantage West, one of Arizona’s largest credit unions, has committed to paying 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 will be 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 will officially present TUSD with a check for $27,230.40 to pay off the outstanding fall 2022 student lunch debt at the February 16, 2023 Tucson Unified School Board meeting, to be held at 5:30 pm at the Duffy Family Resource Center Multipurpose Room 5145 E. 5th Street. Vantage West encourages other local businesses to join in helping offset TUSD student lunch debt for future semesters.

 Vantage West is one of Arizona’s largest credit unions with $2.6 billion in assets and serving more than 174,000 Members. It was established in 1955 to serve airmen at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Today Vantage West serves a diverse population via 20 locations across Arizona and across the globe with cutting-edge digital services. Vantage West offers consumer and business banking and retirement services and is federally insured by NCUA. To learn more visit
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.

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