JLF Piedmont Triad Blog

Re: GCS lunch program turns profit

Wonderful, I’m saying to myself as I read along. But then the shoe drops:

The department also benefited from an increase in federal subsidies, which offset meal prices for poor families.

About 57 percent of students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches in 2012, according to district figures.

Last year, $25.7 million, or 73 percent, of the program’s revenue came from the federal government. In 2007, the figure was 64 percent.

“I know it appears that the program is benefiting from the fact that more children qualify for these meals,” Henry said. “But the way I see it, we’re able to provide meals for students who couldn’t afford it otherwise.”

School leaders expect those revenues to increase again this year. The school system recently qualified for an increase in the amount of federal money it gets for each meal. More families applied for subsidized meals after the district started limiting meal charges last year.

“Children are now on their parents to get the forms in because they can’t get the chips and extra stuff if they owe money,” said Sharon McCants, principal of Kiser Middle. “And they are not a fan of the alternative (meals).”

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