Spokane school district starts free lunch pilot program

Spokane school district starts free lunch pilot program

The number of parents in the Spokane school district requesting free or reduced lunches is on the rise, so much so that three schools have joined a pilot program offering free lunch for every student.

Last year about 17,500 students of the nearly 30,000 in the district were on a free or reduced plan, which is about 59-percent of the district’s students, but if parents want to re-enroll in the free lunch program for this school year time is running out.

October 14 is the deadline to have your application processed; if it’s not done by then you’ll be paying for your child’s lunch this school year.

Inside Grant Elementary hundreds of kids make their way through the lunch line every day. For the kids at Grant the lunch they’re getting is free of charge.

t least 62-percent are free and reduced, 100-percent get paid for and reimbursed,” Doug Wordell, Director of Nutrition Services for the school district, said.

It’s part of a pilot program to make sure no kid goes home hungry. Three schools in the district – Grant, Holmes and Stevens Elementary are part of it. For schools to keep getting funding, parents have to submit income information.

“The downside is if we don’t have the data for the income information from families they could lose funding for teachers, staffing or programs at their schools,” Wordell explained.

The program is one of several to help low income families. The other is free or reduced lunch based on your family’s income. Over the years the district has seen the number of families requesting steadily rise.

“When I came here in 1998 we were at 42-percent free and reduced we are now approaching 59-percent free and reduced,” Wordell said.

Eighty percent of the students who qualified last year got a free lunch while 20 percent at a reduced cost. The district calculates who qualifies by your income. For example, a family of four would qualify if their annual income is below $44,000.

But remember, if you want to get your child involved in the program your application needs to be processed by October 14.

e are really communicating with parents and with students saying hey don’t be in that place on the 15th that says you’re a paid now and you need to bring cash or we won’t have a meal for you,” Wordell said.

The application takes about ten days to process so the district wants you to get your application in as soon as possible.