Free and Reduce Lunches Up in Dothan City Schools

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

Each day about 400 students at Grandview Elementary make their way through the lunch line.

About 98 percent of them are on a free or reduced lunch program.

"Loss of jobs and income, changes in income and financial situations, it's affecting our community," said Tonya Grier with Dothan City Schools.

Grier says while assistance is needed each year, this particular school year she's seen a stark increase.

"From when we ended the school year in May, we had around 6000 free and reduced students and as of this morning our numbers were at like 6400 free and reduced students," said Grier.

Each day Sonya King greets students who come through the lunch line.

She says it's hard to know this meal could be the only substantial one they'll eat for the day.

"A lot of kids, no matter what you put in front of them, they'll eat it because this is their balanced meal that they're going to get that day,” said King.

One might think that more students receiving a free and reduced lunch would cost the system more money but it actually has an opposite effect, it gives schools more of an opportunity to receive grants.

For each student receiving a free lunch, the school is reimbursed $2.74.

Students eating on the reduced rate puts back $2 .34 in the schools budget; whereas, a student paying full price only gets the school a reimbursement of 28 cents.

It just goes to show a free lunch can go a long way.

Schools receive their funding through the United States Department of Agriculture.

Grier says applications are available throughout the school year if you would like to apply.

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