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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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GiantsAllDay
9367
Points
GiantsAllDay 08/01/13 - 10:11 am
8
2
What this amounts to is

What this amounts to is legalized theft of the American taxpayer. Dichotomy makes a good point. Once the make up of congress and the the White House changes (and it eventually will), the program will go away, causing major problems for these counties that accepted these "freebies".

allhans
23523
Points
allhans 08/01/13 - 10:26 am
6
2
When a person takes a job at

When a person takes a job at minimum wage they do it with the intention of working their way up. Or at least that is the rule. Even if you can't work up at that job you can gain valuable experience for a better paying job. That's the way it happened when we came along, I don't see why it would have changed.
I rented a room and shared it with a roommate when I started out. Not an apartment...a room. That is all we could afford.

I don't know about all this "helP', it is never ending and I'm not sure it doesn't hurt more than help.

DESIMAE
32
Points
DESIMAE 08/01/13 - 10:37 am
7
2
Just so you know

Just so you know even folks out there working a full time job are barely making it. I take care of my son, and my mother. I work full time, and barely have enough to get by. Just because you are on state help don't mean that you are lazy. I get foodstamps, even with me working full time. And guess what, I still use cash to get food. I don't take advantage of the system. I am on it because I can't make it. And I was stuck in the loophole of not having a job years ago. Couldn't get a job because I didn't have transportation or child care. Couldn't get help from the state for transportation or child care until I had a job for 2 weeks. Guess what I couldn't get the job because I didn't have transportation or child care. And only person that would watch my son wanted at least half of what I made. And the closest bus stop was 2 miles away. And I couldn't walk it because of a bone condition I have in my leg. So I was stuck in the loophole. Finally able to get to go to college and graduated. I have a full time job, but guess what, I still need the help. I don't have a smart phone, I don't have an expensive car. My car barely runs as it is. I can get too and from work and that is about it. Not all people on the state help are lazy. You are stereotyping people by saying that they are all lazy and need to get off their butts and get a job. It's not always as simple as that. Not all people are taking advantage of the system. Just saying...

GodisSoGood
892
Points
GodisSoGood 08/01/13 - 10:33 am
7
4
Demographics

The demographics of Richmond County shows that 90% or greater of the population is black. 78% of the kids in Richmond County schools qualify for free lunches. Doesn't say much for the black community. Those lunches aren't free....they are paid for by our tax-dollars!! Wake up, America! If there is any discrimination in America, this is an obvious example. I have to pay for my children's lunches because I choose to work. Why can't my kids have free lunches, too?

Riverman1
82176
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 10:41 am
3
2
JRC said, "I eat oatmeal,

JRC said, "I eat oatmeal, grits or cereal every morning for breakfast and I pay for it. "

Why in the world would a Southernor eat oatmeal or cereal? But if school breakfast is anything like school lunch used to be, I feel for them. It's probably a half piece of dried toast. Jell-O with that supposedly fruit in it, a boiled egg, a slice of cheese just there doing nothing and milk.

KSL
126239
Points
KSL 08/01/13 - 10:49 am
4
2
desimae

Why isn't your child's father paying child support?

DESIMAE
32
Points
DESIMAE 08/01/13 - 10:52 am
6
0
KSL

He does, but it barely helps out. I only get 125/mth for child support. The cost of living is so high. Even for crappy small apartments.

Lunaville
23
Points
Lunaville 08/01/13 - 10:59 am
5
0
Guess I'm weird -

I guess I'm weird. Because of taxes, I cringe when I get a paycheck and in April. I sometimes write my congressmen about programs I consider wasteful and want reduced, modified, or eliminated. Yet, I truly have no problem with my tax money going to feed kids.

KSL
126239
Points
KSL 08/01/13 - 11:19 am
5
1
des

I am glad to hear he does. So many fathers are derelict.

DESIMAE
32
Points
DESIMAE 08/01/13 - 11:37 am
4
0
KSL

He isn't always good about paying. But I would say about 80% of the time I can count on him paying the child support.

Sweet son
10050
Points
Sweet son 08/01/13 - 12:02 pm
3
3
RCBOE now stands for:

Richmond County Board of Entitlement! Forget education because it isn't happening anyway!

countyman
19718
Points
countyman 08/01/13 - 12:32 pm
3
6
Facts

I just sit back and laugh, because some of the comments are blatantly false. The same people always bring up the retail stores coming to Augusta, but never mention the NSA at Fort Gordon will hold around 4,000 employees. Is the Bridgestone, Plant Vogtle, Rockwood, Medical Commons, Starbucks, etc projects under construction a figment of imagination?

60% of the kids in Richmond County are definitely not on welfare.. The average poverty rate between 2007-2011 is 23.7% in the county.

This article clearly referenced the student population of Richmond County, and nothing about the kids attending private school/home school or the babies/toddlers in the county..

The average median income between 2007-2011 in Richmond County is $39k(US Census)..

The black population of Richmond County was 55% in 2012(US census)...

deestafford
26168
Points
deestafford 08/01/13 - 12:26 pm
5
3
Let me make a few points. A couple maybe painful.

If I remember correctly, some federal programs are based on the percentage of the children are getting free lunches. As a result, the greater the percentage (100% in Richmond County's case) the more federal money it will get in some programs. It's like the dirty little secret in the minimum wage scheme---some jobs, mostly union contracts, have their wage rates tied to the minimum wage...the higher the minimum wage, the higher the hourly rate for those jobs.

Neal Boortz used to say, "A 40 hour work week is for losers." By that he meant if you are not making the amount of money you want working 40 hours a week, go and get a second and a third job. We seem to have this idea that we should work only 40 hours a week. The folks who are successful today are those who laughed at working only 40 hours per week.

Finally, people should not have children if they cannot support them. I know that is not the way many people think; but, if they were trained and taught from an early age that you don't have children until YOU can take care of them with no state or federal help much of our problems would be solved. I know that is wishful thinking but I thought I would throw some sanity to the problem.

GnipGnop
11839
Points
GnipGnop 08/01/13 - 12:58 pm
8
2
DESIMAE

You are not one of the people anyone is talking about. People like you are what help is for. You are trying to work and raise your kids in a single family home with little help from your childrens father. I don't think anyone minds helping people like that. When the comment about lazy people is brought up they are talking about the people that will not work but are perfectly able and depend on someone else to feed and clothe their children.
Congrats to the federal government on making sure Augusta will stay majority low income. Do you think anyone that is getting a free ride that is not willing to earn anything on their own will leave now? Look for an influx of even more low income earners to move to the ARC area to "gets mine"...

pimpernell
94
Points
pimpernell 08/01/13 - 01:06 pm
5
2
You breed 'em We feed 'em

It has been said that Democracy is the only form of government where
a populace can vote itself expenditures for social programs and at the same time escape the responsibility to pay for them. This and a host of other justifiable reasons is why people flee urban centers like Detroit and urban Augusta to places like Columbia County and other perimetropolitan suburbs and leave behind decaying tax bases, urban poverty, urban crime, murder, rape, robbery, theft, urban racial tensions, debased school systems,illiteracy,infrastructure decay and a host of other social problems, the root cause of which is not
lack of governmental expenditure, but a fundamental collapse of personal responsibility and the American family, Black, White or otherwise. No longer is the American problem "Taxation without Representation", it is "Recreation leading to Procreation". Personal responsibility has disappeared from the national
patchwork initially fueled by the short sighted Great Society Mentalitywith its implicit sense of entitilement without effort, victimhood, and a sense of discrimination that is unrelated to behavior. Who suffers? We all do, but especially the young who become the unfed, unwashed, uneducated, uncaring and
uncared-for, doomed to repeat the cycle ad infinitum. Experience has already taught that creating government subsidized 'poverty industries' like the latest foray of the 'Community Agitator' Obama Administration into the rotting core of American social fabric ---feeding school Children breakfast and lunch, unfulfilledresponsibilities of the home.
What is to be learned from such an endeavor? That parents are not responsible for the care and nurture of the children they bring into the world? That White people are heartless for expecting parents of children to be responsible for their children? That the government owes everyone a living? That once fed these children will ignore their circumstances an grow up to be productive members of society? Or
that they will remember where all this came from and will vote accordingly? That the minority politician ministers who in fact perpetuate their poverty for personal aggrandizement are not
their abusers but their saviors? Will they be able to sort it out?
Or will history continue to repeat itself in a downward spiral?

deestafford
26168
Points
deestafford 08/01/13 - 01:07 pm
5
1
GnipGnop makes a good point

When I, and think most of us here, talk about single parent households I am not talking about the woman who was married and divorced or who became a widow. I'm talking about the ones who have never been married and have children out of wedlock and those who may have been married at one time yet continue to have children when the husband is no longer around.

The women out there who are divorced or widowed who are struggling are the ones who should be helped and that help should start with the family, friends, and church first then the city, county, and state.

countyman
19718
Points
countyman 08/01/13 - 01:26 pm
3
6
Hilarious

It's always the people who live OUTSIDE of Richmond County who constantly tell us the sky is falling in Richmond County. Who is leaving Richmond County for Columbia County in 2013? They want the public to just dismiss the Whole Foods, Cabela's, movie theater, and H&M announced in Richmond County this year. Who really believes every city the size of Augusta got those announcements this year?

How can Richmond County be majority low income and have the only Apple, Costco, PF Changs, Sephora, Pandora, etc in the state outside of metro Atlanta? Do you see Whole Foods locating in every city the size of Augusta? The only Whole Foods outside of metro Atlanta in Georgia are in Savannah/Augusta.

The FACTS don't lie.. The same people always bash Richmond county, but then have the nerve to hype other cities in Georgia specifically Athens for instance..

This is straight from the US Census and not Augusta Chronicle posters.

Poverty rate(2007-2011)
Richmond County 23.7%
Clarke County 34.6%

Median income(2007-2011)
RC $39K
CC $34K

Please show me all of these magical counties in Georgia who are richer than Richmond County(suburban counties of larger cities don't count)?

harley_52
22975
Points
harley_52 08/01/13 - 01:22 pm
6
2
No Free Lunch...

As so many others have already observed. Another move closer to socialism. Not clear from the story is what, if any, strings are attached? Any mandatory curriculum issues? When you strike a bargain with the devil, there's generally a price to be paid.

GnipGnop
11839
Points
GnipGnop 08/01/13 - 01:25 pm
5
2
Simple math Holmes

Stores like that build in areas where they can benefit form the outer areas as well...you like to tout the VAR, the area at Carmax and your beloved CBD all were built close to the state line and Columbia County for a reason...they certainly didn't build to cater to South Augusta

harley_52
22975
Points
harley_52 08/01/13 - 01:41 pm
2
3
Just Yesterday...

...I read an article which quoted Nancy Pelosi as saying something to the effect that 'women don't deserve to be burdened with the responsibility for child care.'

Imagine that.

What kind of mindset brings us to believe that motherhood is a "burden," and an unfair one at that?

Society has gone to hell in a handbasket largely because the federal government has waged an all out attack on the American family structure and done their damnedest to squelch any belief that we (and our families) are responsible for our own lives. Sadly, many Americans have been taught to believe that "It takes a village" to raise a family instead of a mother and a father.

This is just another nail in the casket. All those comments I see here arguing in favor of such societal behavior may not realize it, but the end game here is a communistic society which will be repressive, economically failed, and inhumane as has been every one of them ever attempted in human history.

Be careful of that for which you advocate. You just may get your wish.

countyman
19718
Points
countyman 08/01/13 - 02:13 pm
2
4
FACTS

The developers could have chosen locations in Aiken County or Columbia County. There's plenty of locations in both counties near county/state lines, but they decided to chose Richmond County. Large retailers do like to be in the proximity to the entire area, and I'm glad you realize Bass Pro built close to Richmond County for a reason.

The Apple, PF Changs, Pandora, Sephora, etc(don't exist outside of metro Atlanta & Richmond County in a state close to 10 million residents) at the mall is not close to the state or county line.

The stores announced recently didn't build in Evans, Grovetown, Martinez(except for Bass Pro), Aiken, North Augusta, etc so I don't see your point.. You want us to believe those stores came here for Graniteville, Grovetown, Harlem, etc but not South Augusta?

Your beloved Aiken County is a suburb, and the demographics are barely higher overall compared to Richmond County which includes the central city.

2007-2011 median income
Aiken $44,587
Richmond $39,090

Poverty rate(2007-2011)
Aiken 17%
Richmond 23.7%

harley_52
22975
Points
harley_52 08/01/13 - 02:27 pm
3
4
Countyman...

Good to see you still fighting the good fight. You are a far more patient man than I.

Thanks again for the information you bring to the table. I appreciate it a lot.

GnipGnop
11839
Points
GnipGnop 08/01/13 - 02:46 pm
4
1
You misunderstood...as usual...

they built near West Augusta, Evans, North Augusta and AIken because they knew they would get the most bang for their buck. I have never called Aiken "beloved" so I don't know where you got that idea from. As a tax paying property owner in South Augusta I want to see development there as well. I see the high unfair taxes and the unfair garbage tax and the soon to be rain tax but the only development SA gets is apartments, storage buildings and fast food eateries. These are facts you cannot deny.

Red Headed Step Child
4023
Points
Red Headed Step Child 08/01/13 - 02:47 pm
2
0
I have mixed emotions on this

I have mixed emotions on this one..

I know there are many kids out there that do not have access to regular, nutritious (or even not so nutritious) meals - in both Richmond AND Columbia counties. Whatever the situation is with their parents - deadbeats or hardworkers in a tough place - it doesn't matter - I have a hard time not giving a hungry kid a meal. So considering that we as tax payers are already footing the bill, I'd rather it be dispensed this way. At least then these kids will have food (as unpalatable as I remember school food to be - I'm with you on that Riverman!) while they are in school. Who knows what they are getting at home.

Sure, there are some true deadbeats out there that have made a career out of public assistance - but there are also those that truly are trying their best. Unless there are some strictly enforced guidelines on who receives and CONTINUES to receive assistance (such as a time limit - didn't Clinton put a 5 year maximum benefit period in place that isn't being enforced??) we're never going to weed out the folks that are bleeding the system. This is a tough one to call...

Riverman1
82176
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 03:17 pm
2
0
Thinking About This More...

On a philosophical level I still believe what I said in my original comment that this is a bad thing for teaching young people how to excel in this world. However, in what has become a quasi-European socialist government ruled country, we have to do all we can to ensure we get our dip of the socialist ladle of soup for our bowls. So having said that, and I know many won’t like it, we have to take this money.

Until we can get this socialist system changed we have to play by their rules and not give up funds to other states. You can’t expect the RCBOE with ALL its problems to wage the war against socialism when the nation has temporarily at least, swung that way. Richmond County meets the criteria with 78 percent of the students qualified for free or reduced lunches. RCBOE, get all you can get.

harley_52
22975
Points
harley_52 08/01/13 - 03:25 pm
3
0
One Way To Approach The Problem...

...is to become part of it. That is, after all, the easy way out, isn't it? At least temporarily.

When trapped in a pool with other people and a few alligators, one solution is to keep pushing the other people toward the alligator so they'll be eaten first. It solves the problem, temporarily.

Eventually, there's nobody left to shove in front of you and the alligators are still hungry.

Perhaps expedience and ease aren't the best solution. Maybe one of these days principle will find a friend.

allhans
23523
Points
allhans 08/01/13 - 03:57 pm
2
0
So do we give parents food

So do we give parents food stamps and also feed the kids 3 meals a day? Just asking. I don't know when it gets to be enough. It seems like a bottomless barrel to me.
There MUST be a better way.

harley_52
22975
Points
harley_52 08/01/13 - 04:08 pm
5
0
" I don't know when it gets to be enough....

....It seems like a bottomless barrel to me."

It IS a bottomless barrel, Allhans, that's precisely the point.

It's a strategy. It's a mindset. The more "free stuff" they can offer to more and more "needy" people, the more "needy" people show up to take advantage of it. Does anybody really believe all these "poor" children were starving last year? The year before? How many starving children have you seen lying in the street?

There are some people who want to hook people on government "free stuff." They want to create dependence. They want to convince people they just can't make it on their own. They are helpless victims of "the rich" who live their lives plotting ways to further victimize "the poor."

We can either accept that as the way we want to live our lives, or we can attempt to change it. Maybe it's too late. We didn't use to live in a Country where half the people actually believed they were owed a middle class lifestyle paid for by the other half of the population.

Now, apparently, we do. Pity....

class1
299
Points
class1 08/01/13 - 05:35 pm
2
0
Dinner

Eventually, the school system will feed them dinner too!

corgimom
31086
Points
corgimom 08/01/13 - 05:45 pm
1
3
"60% of the kids in Richmond

"60% of the kids in Richmond County are definitely not on welfare"

Oh yes, 60% of the RC school kids in RC are MOST DEFINITELY on welfare, food stamps, or are homeless. Unless, of course, you think that the story that was printed in the AC is a total lie.

Countyman, you don't have to live below the poverty level to get food stamps. If someone has a family of three and make under $24,000 per year, they qualify for food stamps. If they have an income under $19.090, they are considered living in poverty. That would be someone working a minimum wage job.

A median income means 1/2 of the population of RC has an income of under $39,000. That is appalling. You don't understand the difference between median income and average income- they are not the same.

"How can Richmond County be majority low income and have the only Apple, Costco, PF Changs, Sephora, Pandora, etc in the state outside of metro Atlanta?" BECAUSE OF COLUMBIA COUNTY. PERIOD.

Countyman, I don't know what crazy stats you're looking at, but the median income of CC in 2010 was $66,556.

As for the "magical counties", Richmond County is below average than the state- that tells me that there are many more counties in Georgia that have higher income. The median income for the state of Georgia is $49,736.

As for the stores coming to RC, they'd be stupid not to, RC practically paid for them to come. It's about market penetration. Those stores have no risk to come in here. Those stores typically appeal to a higher income, and it is just a matter of time before they relocate to Aiken and CC.

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