School Lunch Programs See Spike

Laurie Cizon, Canyon I.S.D
Laurie Cizon, Canyon I.S.D
Brent Hoover, Amarillo I.S.D. Food Service Director
Brent Hoover, Amarillo I.S.D. Food Service Director

Local school districts are providing more free food to students this fall. Some blame the rising cost of fuel, food and the economy for the spike schools are seeing in applicants for free or reduced lunch programs.

According to Laurie Cizon with Canyon I.S.D., the number of applications for the free and reduced meals has risen about 14 percent since last year.

For Amarillo I.S.D., the number of applicants for free and reduced lunch grows 250-300 every year. Even with the growth school districts are encouraging all families to apply.

"There is no shame in needing some help in having a great meal and we are providing great meals for our kids," Cizon said.

Districts are seeing thousands of applicants just on the first day of school compared to last year. For the 2007 school year, there were a total of 1754 free lunch applications submitted by October 31, 2007. For 2008, the district has received 1873 by August 25.

Applications for the lunch programs were distributed at registration. They may be submitted anytime during the school year.

Amarillo I.S.D. Food Service Director, Brent Hoover says districts are want every family to advantage of the opportunity for lunch for their children. "There's no limit its just on how the families qualify. We take their information they fill out and we let them know by mail their status," Hoover said.

Families can pick up forms at their child's school or their school district. It will list the income requirements, so you know the qualifications ahead of time.

"We are here to help families in every way possible... Struggling financially, emotionally stuggling with school, " Laurie Cizon said.

The cost of these lunch programs are funded by federal taxes.

Canyon School lunch prices have risen approximately 10 to 29 cents per meal. Total cost last year was $734,000 for meals. In this school year, it is projected to be $785,000, an increase of $51,000.

Amarillo School lunches prices are $1.75 for elementary and $2.00 for Secondary.

Free/Reduced Lunch Program INCOME CHART

HOUSEHOLD SIZE                 YEARLY              MONTHLY               WEEKLY

1                                              $19,240              $1,604                   $370

2                                              $25,900              $2159                     $499

3                                               $32,560             $2,714                    $627

4                                               $39,220             $3,269                    $755

5                                               $45,880             $3,824                    $883

6                                               $52,540              $4,379                   $1,011

7                                               $59,200               $4,934                  $1,139

8                                               $65,860               $5,489                   $1,267

Each Additional person             $6,660                  $555                     $129