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Archive for Sunday, December 14, 2008

Free lunches increase in state

From left, Kennedy School cafeteria workers Jackie Stone and Kathy Barnes make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Wednesday. As the economy has gotten more shaky, the number of children receiving a free lunch or reduced lunches has increased in Kansas public schools.

From left, Kennedy School cafeteria workers Jackie Stone and Kathy Barnes make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Wednesday. As the economy has gotten more shaky, the number of children receiving a free lunch or reduced lunches has increased in Kansas public schools.

December 14, 2008

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— In perhaps another sign of the shaky economy, the number of children receiving free or reduced-price lunches in the Kansas public school system has risen sharply.

A total of 152,798 school children are receiving free lunch this school year, which is 13,133 more than last year. That represents an increase of 9.4 percent, according to the Kansas Department of Education. The previous year’s increase was less than 2 percent.

Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said the economic downturn and earlier spike in gasoline prices probably led to this year’s increase.

“Kansans have a lot of pride. People who may have been eligible may not have applied because they could get by, but when fuel prices went up, they applied,” Dennis said.

The number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches in the Lawrence district has not gone up as much as in other areas of the state, but it still has increased significantly, officials said.

Of the district’s 10,800 students, 25 percent receive free lunch, and 7 percent received reduced-price lunch for a total of 32 percent. That is two percentage points higher than last year, according to Paula Murrish, director of food services for the district.

“This is the most jump we have taken in the last 10 years,” she said.

A child from a family of four people is eligible for free lunch if the household income is $27,560 per year or less. A child from a family of four is eligible for a reduced-price lunch if the household income is $39,220 per year or less.

Meal prices vary among school districts, but a reduced-price lunch at a junior high or high school in Lawrence is 40 cents. The full price for a student is $2.35.

In the Tonganoxie school district, officials made a concerted effort to get free or reduced-price lunch to eligible students.

Tonganoxie Supt. Richard Erickson said the reason for that was twofold — as a benefit to the children and their families, and also because the number of students receiving free lunch means the district gets more funding from the state under the school finance formula. Those dollars are directed to programs to help students who are struggling.

The Tonganoxie district reported that the 56 more students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch would produce an additional $100,000 in funding, which would help balance its budget.

Even so, Erickson said the district is preparing for possible budget cuts because of the recent reduction in the state revenue projections.

“If budget cuts are coming, and we expect they are, we want to try the best that we can to reduce expenditures without hurting kids,” he said.

Comments

invictus 5 years, 4 months ago

free lunches, free education, free clothing, free medical care, free college, free housing, free welfare, why not have as many children as possible?

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Shardwurm 5 years, 4 months ago

This can mean only one thing - Pay raises for all teachers across the board!

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iloveribs 5 years, 4 months ago

I truly enjoy all these brave people that run smack on people on the comments portion of the ljworld. True cowardice at the highest level.

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Alia Ahmed 5 years, 4 months ago

Even students who pay full price for school lunches are receiving a subsidy from the government. The amount students pay at the full price for a school lunch does not cover the cost of that lunch. So, for those of you whose children pay the full price, you are still getting a subsidy and perhaps need to be more humble and less judgmental about those children who get free and or reduced lunches.http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm?doc_id=72183

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mom_of_three 5 years, 4 months ago

Well, Larry, I was a kid who had free and reduced lunches at school, and my mother had two of us. She worked full time, at jobs which weren't high paying, and received child support. There were times she was laid off, when we took advantage of the school lunch. But I was still fortunate, because I never went hungry at home. Maybe it wasn't what I wanted to eat, but we scrounged up something. So what I am trying to say is that sometimes circumstances dictate what is happening to families through no fault of their own.

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Larry_The_Moocher 5 years, 4 months ago

I am so glad you came out of your warm hiding place Sandersen and enlightned me as to how things work. One of these days you too, will experience this kind of thing first hand and understand it better. Crawl back in where it is warm.

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sandersen 5 years, 4 months ago

Larry, I am amazed that you are able to turn a story that is unequivocally about the impact of the economic recession into a stigmatization of those impacted... Nice jab as to the number of kids you think "these parents" have!Whether or not you believe it, there is a bona fide recession going on, with job loss in excess of anything experienced since the Depression. I noticed comments from you on more than one story that were beyond uninformed... Simply ludicrous.

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deskboy04 5 years, 4 months ago

I wish that the school lunches were of better quality.

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macon47 5 years, 4 months ago

when obama be gettin in we all get the free lunch

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Larry_The_Moocher 5 years, 4 months ago

The Tonganoxie district reported that the 56 more students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch would produce an additional $100,000 in funding, which would help balance its budget.________It says it all right here... The school mostly (Only) cares about its survival and it is only a business to them.It is sad that the only quality meal some of these kids get is at school. These parents seem to have more than their fair share of kids too...Lookie here Waka1 This is a place you can get a job and quit mooching off the taxpayers.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 4 months ago

I bet the kids would appreciate it if they put enough pb on those to spread out to the edge of the bread.(gakk!, ptuie..dry crusts!)

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volunteer 5 years, 4 months ago

The kids need a good lunch. This is one school expense I won't gripe about.

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waka1 5 years, 4 months ago

dude thats awesom i wish the city cared about the homeless as much everybody who lives in lawernce and makes less then a certian amont sould get free meals to

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