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Breakfast, lunch to be free for all Richmond students

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 8:48 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 1, 2013 2:15 AM
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Breakfast and lunch in Richmond County schools will be offered at no charge to all students beginning this school year thanks to a federal program approved by the Richmond County Board of Education Wednesday.

The Community Eligibility Option, part of President Obama’s 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, reimburses for meals in school districts that have at least 40 percent of students identified as low-income on a variety of factors.

In Richmond County, 78 percent of students qualified for free or reduced lunches last year while 22 percent paid full price. Nutrition Director Josephine Mack said the CEO program benefits not only those families who paid for lunches but also those who received free or reduced price meals because it eliminates the application process, cutting paperwork and hassle for parents and school staff.

“This is what’s best for children,” Mack said. “It’s really a long-time dream come true for me to see children attending school receive nutritious meals they deserve.”

One elementary school child eating lunch every day costs his family $352 per year on the paid rate; $396 at the middle and high school level, according to Controller Gene Spires.

“That’s going to go away,” Spires said. “So if a parent had three children, one in elementary and middle and high school, they’re going to save $1,144 in one year.”

Spires asked board members to postpone approving this program when Mack initially presented it in June to make sure participating would not affect other grant programs the district receives. Richmond County receives federal Title I and E-Rate funds based on its free and reduced lunch statistics, but Spires said the logistics of calculating eligibility for those programs going forward has been resolved.

While families qualify for free and reduced lunches based on household income, the CEO program is offered to districts if at least 40 percent of its students receive welfare, food stamps, are homeless or other factors – which applies to 60 percent of Richmond County students, as opposed to the 78 percent receiving free or reduced lunch.

The CEO program is being offered in 11 states as a pilot program but will be expanded nationwide for the 2014-15 school year. Since it opened to Georgia this year, districts are now in the process of applying through the Georgia Department of Education, according to spokesman Matt Cardoza.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, states that implemented the CEO program in the 2011-12 school year increased breakfast participation from 48 percent to 57 percent and lunch participation from 72 percent to 78 percent.

“For us to be able to allow our parents and the children, every child, to have free breakfast and lunch and be able to pass those savings on to a lot of parents that have two or three children, that’s just awesome,” board president Venus Cain said.

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TrulyWorried
13231
Points
TrulyWorried 07/31/13 - 10:52 pm
10
2
Free food in schools

is a Federal program and "has been approved" by the Richmond County School Board of Education. How generous of them !!!! (really)

KSL
126085
Points
KSL 08/01/13 - 01:12 am
16
2
Food stamps need to be

Food stamps need to be reduced accordingly for those who will be double dipping.

draksig
167
Points
draksig 08/01/13 - 03:29 am
12
2
If the meals follow Michelle

If the meals follow Michelle Obama's nutritional guidelines, they are still overcharging.

Riverman1
82151
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 06:34 am
23
4
There Is No Free Lunch

Just throw in supper too...for life. Some lesson we are teaching kids. Free breakfast and lunch. EBT cards, Section 8 and Obamacare for life. What we've done is throw a reservation sign around Richmond County as surely if it were a Cherokee Reservation. Give the natives enough to subsist on and they will stay on the reservation forever happily subsisting in a welfare existence. We are teaching there is no reason to work. But sooner or later, an old adage is going to surface in America. "There is no free lunch."

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 08/01/13 - 06:51 am
18
4
WOW!

Just plain WOW! I have to PAY for my child's lunch even though I am a single mom, work full time, and barely have enough at the end of the month to feed just two people with no assistance at all from government handouts. Please spare me the "it's for the children" whines. MY CHILD doesn't get free lunch in the county we live in and if a federal program (that means paid for by good ol Uncle Sam aka the tax payers) can pay for one county then how can they say this is fair to all citizens. Oh I forgot "life isn't fair". It sure isn't for the working class.

southern2
5994
Points
southern2 08/01/13 - 07:22 am
16
3
How about this for a

How about this for a "nutrition program"? Let the parents of these kids get off of their lazy behinds and get a job to support the children they bring into this world and quit being a burden to your neighbors. Can you spell D_E_T_R_O_I_T?

Riverman1
82151
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 07:25 am
15
1
Just Make Columbia County Buy the Breakfast and Lunch

Why beat around the bush? Just tell Columbia County they will have to start feeding the kids in Richmond County. Make it more direct than doing it in a convoluted way via the feds.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/01/13 - 07:50 am
0
0
“This is what’s best for children” God forbid we forget the kids
Unpublished

“This is what’s best for children” God forbid we forget the kids

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/01/13 - 07:51 am
0
0
Capture the youth by whatever means. Marxism at its best.
Unpublished

Capture the youth by whatever means. Marxism at its best.

corgimom
31058
Points
corgimom 08/01/13 - 07:51 am
9
9
The real issue is that 60% of

The real issue is that 60% of RC kids' families are on welfare, food stamps, or homeless. That is appalling.

And then people are thrilled beyond belief that retail stores are coming to Augusta- with their part-time, minimum-wage jobs.

This does nothing to solve Augusta's poverty problem.

You want people to get off welfare and food stamps? With the abysmal school system that RC has, they aren't going to. You give a child a substandard education, it is a near certainty that they are going to live a life of poverty.

The graduation rate in RC is still less than 60%. That means 4 out of 10 kids have little to no chance of ever being out of poverty.

There is a myth that "getting a job" will get you out of poverty and off of food stamps. A person needs a job that pays better than minimum wage- and there is a lack of those jobs in RC. If you earn minimum wage, and have children, yes, you will qualify for food stamps and welfare.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/01/13 - 07:52 am
0
0
The youth, The youth. Look at all totalitarian regimes. FACT
Unpublished

The youth, The youth. Look at all totalitarian regimes. FACT

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 08/01/13 - 07:54 am
10
4
WOW

Could this be a way to keep some in the school system....maybe..now they may rethink that move to Columbia county...but just like others say on here....there is no free lunch...someone, somewhere, will pay for these lunches.

class1
299
Points
class1 08/01/13 - 08:03 am
10
3
Free breakfast and lunch

How can you say free lunch? Someones taxes are paying for it. Nothing is free. This is another example of why our country is going broke or is it broke now, and we are just printing money that is worthless.

southern2
5994
Points
southern2 08/01/13 - 08:58 am
12
3
The average govt assisted

The average govt assisted "taker" household robs taxpaying "makers" of over $60K a year. How is it possible that these children need another free meal.

With clever little names like, SNAP, WIC, EBT, Child Nutrition Program, National School Lunch Program, Afterschool Snacks,Seamless Summer, Team Nutrition, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program, CACFP (Child and Adult Food Care Program), The Summer Food Service Program and now The Community Eligibility Option, part of President Obama’s 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. How many FREE MEALS can one kid eat in a single day?

Stop implementing these duplicate "Santa Claus" programs and let the producing Americans keep some of what they labor for. Compare a working family's grocery cart to someone who is provided these freebies. Guess which one has the lobster tails and which one has the pack of bologna?

raul
4532
Points
raul 08/01/13 - 08:29 am
15
3
Not something to be proud of.

Not something to be proud of.

deestafford
26008
Points
deestafford 08/01/13 - 08:33 am
16
3
Where in the heck is parental responsibility?

We have been sold this horse squeeze by the liberal, big government people who keep saying how children need nutritional meals and as a result they should get them at school if they don't get them at home.

What is wrong with a bowl of oatmeal or grits for breakfast? Nothing! That's what I had for school when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s. For lunch take a baloney sandwich.

Just stop and think for a minute how many people's income depends on promoting more and more government involvement in our education system with such things as it being the government, and not the parent's, responsibility to take care of their children's food needs.

There is this attitude that if something comes from the yankee government that it's "free" to the local area. It ain't free---it's just something else that takes from the producers and gives to the moochers. I'm ashamed that our local school administrators are touting this program is something really great. In reality it's just more of the obama administration giving heroin to the locals so they will be meek and willing to accept more because it's "free".

Little Lamb
45257
Points
Little Lamb 08/01/13 - 08:36 am
9
3
Wise

Wise observation, Raul. Thumbs up.

deestafford
26008
Points
deestafford 08/01/13 - 08:39 am
13
3
It would be a great community service for the Chronicle

to do an analysis and determine the monetary value a "poor" family gets in government handouts such as "free" lunches and breakfasts, SNAP, housing assistance, obama phones, reduced cable, health care, etc.

When you look at all the "free" stuff given it is no wonder that "poor" people are not going to work because they will lose all of this stuff and be making less by working than sucking on the government teat.

Please do a column on this.

JRC2024
8466
Points
JRC2024 08/01/13 - 08:55 am
11
2
Dee, I eat oatmeal, grits or

Dee, I eat oatmeal, grits or cereal every morning for breakfast and I pay for it. Doesn't cost too much either.

dichotomy
31989
Points
dichotomy 08/01/13 - 09:01 am
8
2
Not smart RCBOE. In a couple

Not smart RCBOE. In a couple of years the funding for this program will go away and YOU will have addicted everyone to the MORE FREEBIES money. THEN what ya gonna do?

DO NOT GET ADDICTED TO THIS FEDERAL BOONDOGGLE. This is about the 2nd or 3rd different program that WE are paying for these same kids to eat. And this one will dry up and go away when the feds cut the money off after you are addicted. And the Richmond County schools......they may as well just hang a Federal Diner sign up on these schools because feeding people is about all they are good for anyway.

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 08/01/13 - 09:02 am
8
4
I put this on r/r ..need it on here

My parents

My parents put 7 kids through the Richmond county school system.....in all that time they had 0 free lunch for any of us....I think back when the going was tough, my dad worked construction in the 50s & 60s & sometimes he wasn't working....we lived off the veggies & gardens we had & my granmom had...why is it different now? We made it & didn't ask the gov for help.

RMSHEFF
15700
Points
RMSHEFF 08/01/13 - 09:04 am
8
2
Dee

This evaluation was done last year using a single mom with 2 children. The conclusion was, that if she were to take a full time job, she would need to make over $ 60,000 per year to make it worth giving up all the welfare programs.

Davidl3940
115
Points
Davidl3940 08/01/13 - 09:07 am
6
2
Nothing is Free

There is no free lunch. We are paying for them with our taxes. The School Board wants to raise our taxes to pay for school operations. Somehow those in government thinks the tax payer is responsible for everything!!!! We have to live in our budget without higher taxation!!!

SGT49
1840
Points
SGT49 08/01/13 - 09:07 am
15
2
Sounds Great to Me

Now I don't have to get out of bed at all in the morning. Don't have to get up to fix em breakfast. Don't have to get up to fix em lunch. My food stamps goes right on my EBT card. My section 8 goes right to the landlord.

Why can't they do supper too? Then I'll only have to get up to pee.

corgimom
31058
Points
corgimom 08/01/13 - 09:09 am
5
7
Dee, there just aren't enough

Dee, there just aren't enough jobs in Augusta for everyone to work. If there were more jobs than people, employers would be paying more than minimum wage. Supply and demand.

The official unemployment rate in Augusta is over 9%, the true unemployment rate is at least 15%.

It is a myth that everyone could go out and get a job, and it is a myth that everyone could go out and get a job and be able to support a family. It used to be like that, but not anymore.

Between the high poverty rate, the absymal schools, and the terrible transit system, look for the number of people needing assistance to rise, not fall.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 08/01/13 - 09:17 am
0
0
"tank you mr. gub-ah-ment" obammy
Unpublished

lets see free breakfast, lunch, and of course dinner (courtesy of da "EBT"), free housing, free energy assistance, free medical care...well that finally cuts it, what you see is the prototype of the "cradle to grave" program...so all of the leeches, moochers, parasitic broodmares can now use "dey welfare" to shop at CITI TRENDS for the latest outfit in which to wear at "da club" so dey can find dey next "baby daddy"....if we are going to take care of the welfare crowd then what needs to be done is require them to live in certain areas as a pre-condition to receiving "cradle to grave" benefits. walls with armed guards should be placed around the following locations: allen homes, cooney circle (funny and interesting name cooney circle-wonder who thought of that and the meaning-ironic isnt it), dogwood terrace, olmstead homes, the row houses on broad street, sunset homes, river glen, the mixed use complex where underwood homes once stood, and all those on sec 8 should be required to register and carry special identification. those living in the housing projects must pass through an gate manned by armed guards and indicate why they are leaving the compound where they are going and their return time, those on sec 8 have more freedom but are subject to being stopped and searched at any time. its time since working taxpayers are paying for their cradle to grave life style that we are given something back...then each government projects is its own self-contained unit with stores, schools, playgrounds, and "dey clubs"...etc everyting they need is inside the walls so they are free to shoot each other, rob and steal, and birth baby after baby like rutting animals without the vermin, rats, and roaches spilling out and affecting law-abiding citizens

avidreader
3089
Points
avidreader 08/01/13 - 09:23 am
8
2
Shameful!

My head is stuffed with words, but I can't put them into this box.

SHAMEFUL!

woodymeister
241
Points
woodymeister 08/01/13 - 09:31 am
7
3
Better Idea

How about I leave my back door open and the government can come by and rob me blind. This is another pathetic example of Democrats ruining this country. At least it won't put people out of work...It will just make it easier for them not to go to work.

prov227
3124
Points
prov227 08/01/13 - 09:53 am
6
1
Isn't life on the plantation ...

fun?! (figuratively speaking) Soon Obama's programs will include the care and government nurturing, through the federally subservient "local" school system, of four year olds. At some point, if things don't change in the black community, infants from birth will belong to the Democrat Federal government, their new master. Ommogosh, could these e-mails be profiled and analyzed by the NSA?

Amazing that grownups like Mack and Cain still use the word "free" to refer to federal grants. I guess they were victims of the school system, themselves.

Pops
7704
Points
Pops 08/01/13 - 10:00 am
4
1
I'm so happy she's happy.

“For us to be able to allow our parents and the children, every child, to have free breakfast and lunch and be able to pass those savings on to a lot of parents that have two or three children, that’s just awesome,” board president Venus Cain said.

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