Funding Attached To Free Lunches

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LANSING -- Lunch is free in the Lansing Schools but at what price?The superintendent announced the new free program earlier this month but along with it, the district could be losing out on some valuable state and federal funding. Once school started, all kids in the Lansing School District can get free breakfast and lunch.

"In September last year we were serving 785 students a day, right now we're topping out at about 1200 a day and there's only about 1300 plus in this building," said Kirk Valkner, director of food services for the Lansing School District.

They've increased participation by nearly 60 percent.

"The district as a whole, 100 percent gets to eat for free and we get the reimbursement back from the federal government," said Valkner.

Since the entire district is free, that means parents don't have to fill out a form asking for a free reduced lunch anymore. But there is something else they need to fill out otherwise their kids will lose out.

"A survey was sent out because it took the place of the meal application that was always passed out in previous years. It goes to determine if students are eligible based on economic circumstances," said Valkner.

Some were under the impression that Title I funding was in jeopardy but that's not the case. If you don't return the survey, however, your child could lose out on free tutoring opportunities and waivers for the ACT.

A letter went out to about 6,000 families saying that in order to determine eligibility for various additional state and federal program benefits, you need to return the survey. The are due into the district by the end of next week.

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