For Ninth Consecutive Year, More Students On Free And Reduced-Price Lunch Plans


The number of students in Wisconsin receiving free and reduced-price school meals has increased for the ninth straight school year.

The Department of Public Instruction reported the latest figures today. Over 43 percent of public school students in the state qualified for subsidized breakfast and lunch this school year – up nearly a percent from last year. Ten years ago, around 30 percent of Wisconsin public school students were eligible.

David Boland is administrator at the Seneca School District in southwest Wisconsin. Seventy-two percent of his students are eligible for free and reduced meals. He says the program is especially vital in rural communities that he says have been slower to recover in the sluggish economy.

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“You know for some kids, that might be the best meal of the day for them. And for some kids it might be their only meal. It’s a pretty important program if you want kids to be able to do well in school and try to get them to move on and get good jobs so that maybe we can break this cycle of poverty a little bit.”

One hundred and ten Wisconsin school districts now have 50 percent or more of their students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. That’s out of a total of 414 districts in the state that participate in the National School Lunch Program.