The new federal school lunch program applied to the Metcalfe County elementary schools and the $12,000 debt accrued from unpaid student lunches were discussed at the regular board of education session Tuesday.
The Metcalfe County Board of Education approved a community eligibility option of the federal Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act in April 2011 to be utilized at all the elementary schools starting August 2012. The new program was created three years ago and Kentucky was one of the states selected to act as a test market for the program. Schools with a direct certified percentage of 40 percent or higher were eligible for the program, which provides free breakfast and lunch for every student at the qualifying schools. Direct certified refers to the students whose families are directly certified as low income and qualify for the program due to their participation in food stamps, Medicaid or other federal programs. Unfortunately, at the federal reimbursement rate of around 79.1 percent, Director of School Nutrition Beth Miller is not sure this program is practical to continue.
Edmonton Elementary has a 40 percent direct certified student population, North Metcalfe Elementary has a 45 percent and Summer Shade Elementary has a 49 percent.
Miller said she didn’t realize how great the poverty rate was in the area until she took this job. She knows for some of the elementary students the free breakfast and lunch are the only two meals they can count on receiving. She said it’s a great program, but upon looking at the food service department data, she isn’t sure that the school district has a high enough direct certified student population to make the program “fiscally responsible.”
Read more of this story in the print or e-Edition of Monday's Glasgow Daily Times.