District says no thanks to free meals program

Schools opt out of community eligibility program because administrators say lunch benefits don't outweight other lost funds.

July 25—Clarke County public schools will take a pass on a new free-lunch-for-all federal program, at least for now.

Under the “Healthy, Hunger-free Kids” act of 2010, school districts with high levels of students who qualify for free or reduced lunchroom prices can opt to offer free lunches to all students this year.

The Clarke County School District easily qualifies.

Since 2003, the percent of pupils in Clarke schools who qualify for free or reduced lunch has jumped from 64 percent in 2003 to 82 percent as of 2013, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.