11:35am

Mon July 18, 2011
Statehouse News

Kentucky Joins New School Food Program

Many Kentucky public schools have until Jul. 29 to become part of a new pilot food program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but all may not participate. The program provides free breakfast and lunch to all students in schools where at least 40 percent of students are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP—or participate in the Free and Reduced Meal Program. In Kentucky 102 school districts are eligible; Jefferson County is one of them.

In Jefferson County, around 62 percent of schools are eligible, but it’s still undecided whether schools will participate, said a JCPS official.  This is because the federal government will fund a majority of the cost, but not all.

Schools that sign up for the program should have decreased administrative costs, said Andrea Plummer who works on health issues with Kentucky Youth Advocates.

“This is going to help the students have nutrition at the beginning of the day and a lot of times that can help them remain in the classroom and be healthy,” she said. “I think if there is a slight cost, I think those benefits will outweigh that.”

The Kentucky Department of Education is unable to say how many schools have signed up for the program.