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The Real Benefits of Free and Reduced Lunch

Thomas Morcillo / highlights

Thomas Morcillo / highlights

Thomas Morcillo, highlights contributor

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Public schools can use all the money they can get, so this opportunity to acquire more funding that can be used for anything around the school should not be ignored, and there should be as many students applying as possible.

Many students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Federal poverty guidelines determine that a family of three in the contiguous United States earning an annual income of $38,000 is eligible for reduced-price lunch status, and a family of three with an annual income of $27,000 is eligible for free lunch status, making the program accessible to a wide range of students.

The program also provides additional federal funding to schools with more students on a free or reduced-lunch status. In Miami Dade County, a school must reach 78 percent of their student population on free or reduced-lunch for it to become a “Title I” school. According to Assistant Principal Joseph Evans, who is in charge of the school lunch program, Title I schools are eligible for approximately $400,000 dollars, which does not need to be used exclusively for lunch and could be used for additional educational resources around the school. The school currently has approximately 75 percent student enrollment in free or reduced lunch, making it almost eligible for Title I status.

Free or reduced lunch also has the added benefit of giving students waivers for reduced prices for standardized testing, which could remove the burden of at least $60 per test. Other reduced prices that come with free lunch status relate to school services such as tablet distribution. Reducing the rental price from $20 for a student not on free or reduced lunch to $10 for a reduced-price student and $5 for a free lunch student, students are granted the opportunity to utilize these valuable school resources at a discounted price.

Although not all students may qualify, free and reduced-price lunch status has multiple benefits to both schools and students. The school is only a few students away from being eligible for thousands of dollars in additional funding, so all students that are eligible should apply to benefit both themselves and the school.

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The Real Benefits of Free and Reduced Lunch