Free or reduced priced lunch programs growing at Spokane Public Schools

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by KREM.com & Shawn Chitnis

KREM.com

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 18 at 6:06 PM

SPOKANE—More and more students are signing up for free and reduced priced lunch programs at local schools, causing Spokane Publics Schools to do some adjusting.

Putting one child in the free lunch program for an entire school year can save a family about $800 dollars.

The number of families signing up for free or reduced lunches in the Spokane Public School District has steadily increased over the past few years.  Leaders for the program say they know the need is there, but sometimes they have trouble convincing parents to sign up.

Program organizers say many families don’t want to sign up for the program because they are worried about taking away from someone’s funding.  But as the number of students getting free or reduced lunches increases, the federal funding increases as well.

The school district gets reimbursed for every meal it provides to qualifying families.  In 2007, that accounted for 47% of the district.  This year, that number has increased to 57%.  At schools like Grant Elementary, that can get as high as 80% or 90%.

In some cases, these free lunches are the only hot food students receive all day.  Leaders with the district say there isn’t much they can do to help families outside of school.  But providing healthy meals that help students to focus inside the classroom is a start.

Families can apply at every school, and those applications can be processed in as little as three days.

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