Free Lunch Sign Ups Crucial for Accurate Count of Low-Income Students

Let the counting begin.

With millions of dollars available under the new finance formula for schools with large numbers of low-income students, districts are pulling out all the stops to make sure they get an accurate count of their high-needs students. Because the new system defines “low income” as students who are eligible for the federal free- and reduced-price meals program, some districts are offering free Raiders tickets, ice cream parties, tickets to the county fair and other perks to encourage families to sign up for the National School Lunch Program.

Counting low-income students is an annual fall rite at most districts, which use the data for a variety of programs, but this year the count matters more than ever.  Under the K-12 finance formula signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July, districts can receive additional funds for every high-needs student enrolled – as much as $3,000 per student once the formula is fully funded over the next eight years. High-needs students are defined as low-income, English learners or foster youth.

Read the full article from EdSource…