March 21—A school nutrition pilot program is expected to make serving low-income students in Kentucky school districts easier in the 2012-2013 school year.
Kentucky joins Alaska, Florida, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania in the demonstration phase of a program to use Medicaid data to determine elibility for school meal assistance. The project is under the authority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which manages the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.
“When we applied for this pilot project, I think the USDA saw that Kentucky is a leader in this area, and that there was a need for this because we do have such a high level of students who are eligible for this,” said Lisa Gross, Kentucky Department of Education spokesperson.
Currently, 56 percent of students in Kentucky’s public school system qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, which puts Kentucky in the top ten in need, said Gross.
Calloway County has 57.13 percent of student on free and reduced-price meals, and 39 percent of students in the MISD qualify for free and reduced-price meals, according to school district data.