PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – The CEO of Philadelphia-based coffee roaster La Colombe says a school board president has rejected his offer to pay overdue lunch bills in a Pennsylvania district that warned parents their children could end up in foster care if they didn’t pony up. La Colombe Coffee chief executive Todd Carmichael says he offered to give Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley West School District $22,000 to wipe out the bills.

A company spokesman said Tuesday that board president Joseph Mazur rejected the offer, arguing money is owed by parents who can afford to pay.

Wyoming Valley West’s lawyer, Charles Coslett, says he’s not sure what the school board plans to do.

Child welfare authorities have told the district that Luzerne County doesn’t run its foster system that way.

Earlier this month, the district reportedly sent out about 1,000 letters to parents warning that their children could end up in foster care if they did not pay overdue school lunch bills.

The district said it is trying to collect more than $20,000, and that other methods to get parents to pay have not been successful. Four parents owe at least $450 apiece.

After complaints, district officials announced they plan to send out less threatening letters.

School district officials say they plan to pursue other legal avenues to get the lunch money, such as filing a district court complaint or placing liens on properties.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)