Free lunch could hurt federal funding for Tennessee schools

Memphis and Nashville schools worry about Title 1 funding under Community Eligibility Provision.

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—For the first time this fall, students in Memphis and Nashville won’t have to supply information about their family’s income to get free lunch at school. The move is meant to ensure that poor students get the nutrition they need — but bureaucratic rules mean it could could also cost schools federal funding.

It depends on how many parents return a form being sent home to parents this month asking for income information. A shift in how districts account for how many low-income students it has could potentially impact how much funding districts receive for crucial services funded by federal grants.  If too many parents don’t turn in their income information to schools, it will appear that the number of low-income students have dropped, and districts will get less money.

“Parents need to know that filling out this survey will determine how much Title I dollars the school will receive,” said Beverly Davis, the PTA president at Whitehaven High School. Davis plans to discuss the form at this month’s PTA meeting, because she said that parents did not know why they should return the form.  “If they don’t fill it out, I’m concerned it may come back to bite us.”

For years, school systems across Tennessee used the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch as a proxy for the number of socioeconomically disadvantaged students. That number informs the amount of federal dollars available for a range of services geared at boosting traditionally disadvantaged students’ test scores, from after school tutoring and textbooks to professional development for teachers.

But this year, Shelby County Schools, Millington Schools, and Metro Nashville Public Schools are participating in a new federal program that supplies all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, with free meals. That program, part of the 2010 Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act, will ensure more kids get nutritional meals, increase revenue from the United States Department of Agriculture, and speed up lunch lines.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

Sponsored Content
gluten free diet

From Stouffer’s.

A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

According to FoodService Director , 77% of college and university operators purchase their gluten-free...

Industry News & Opinion

Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

FSD Resources