Richmond County Schools clarifies report of students at three schools losing free lunches

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Confusion over if students at three Richmond County schools could lose free lunches is causing the RIchmond County School System to clarify the issue to parents.

According to Kaden Jacobs with RCSS, the school system discovered Thursday that three schools, Freedom Park School, John S. Davidson Magnet School, and C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School, were not getting fully reimbursed by the Community Eligibility Provision for meals provided.

The board found out if they include those schools, the district will be at 90 percent certified, which would cost about $1 million.

If those three schools are removed, the district would be at 96 percent certified, which would only cost $300,000. As a result, the board voted to remove the schools at a savings of almost $700,000.

"It shows that a lot of things that troubled the school system and the community in the past are getting better," Jacobs said.

However, Jacobs said, students that are still eligible for free lunches will not lose them. Jacobs said instead, parents of those students will have to fill out the form through SNAP or TANF. If they are approved, then students will continue to receive free lunches.

"Students that are not eligible for free and reduced lunch will have to pay for lunch, but students that have a need will still be able to get a free or reduced lunch like they always have," Jacobs said.

But for people like Kimberly Hayes, whose two kids attend Davidson, it means going to the grocery store a bit more often.

Hayes even crunched the numbers.

"For $2.85 per lunch, $15 a week for one child, $30 for two, for me it makes sense to purchase lunch," Hayes said.

That's about $500 a year per child -- a cost many other parents are not happy to eat. For Hayes, making lunches every day is worth it.

"For me, that's a little that I can do to insure that those programs not only at Davidson but at other schools are still implemented and there's no cuts to them," Hayes said.

All students will get free meals for the first 30 days of the school year. The school system says families will be getting a letter in the mail explaining the decision.

The free/reduced lunch application will be available on the RCSS website in the next few days.

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