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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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corgimom
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corgimom 08/01/13 - 05:51 pm
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As for food stamps- if a

As for food stamps- if a family is on food stamps, they are struggling. They aren't getting rich off of food stamps. The US average recipient receives $124 per month in food stamps. I don't know of anybody that could adequately feed themselves a proper diet for $124 per month, let alone for a growing child- the states allow more than that for foster children.

The recession has taken a terrible toll on families. People are struggling. RC has an unemployment rate of over 9%- that's a lot of people that are out of work. And now the big annoucement is that a whole bunch of low-level, part-time, minimum-wage jobs are coming- further fueling the cycle of poverty in Augusta.

When you couple that with a financially broke school system, 3 high schools that are among the worst in Georgia, and a 4 out of 10 dropout rate in high school- the poverty isn't going to end soon, and neither are the free lunch programs or the food stamps.

countyman
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countyman 08/01/13 - 05:52 pm
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I can't believe 6 or 5 people

I can't believe 6 or 5 people gave the commentor who said Richmond County was 90% black thumbs up lol... The 55% black population in 2012 from the census is easily found on the site... Then people want to accuse me of not accepting reality, but the reality is you can't accept their reality because it's completely false. The bias against Richmond County on this site is pretty sad.

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 06:09 pm
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"The bias against Richmond County on this site is pretty sad."

"Bias" is a very kind descriptor of what routinely gets posted in here, most of it from non-Richmond County residents/taxpayers.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/01/13 - 06:36 pm
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Ok, Countyman, never let it

Ok, Countyman, never let it be said that I don't give you what you ask for.

You want to see the "magical counties" that are wealthier than RC?

Look no further.

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/countymhirank.htm

If you look at this ranking, that was taken off of the 2010 census figures, you will see that out of 159 counties in Georgia, RC ranked 92 in median household income. That means 91 counties in Georgia are richer than RC.

I would think that's magical too, if it weren't so terribly sad. Just plain sad.

However, CC is ranked 4th. So if you are wondering why all of those businesses are locating in RC, now you know.

Cheap land, lots of incentives in RC, but the income is in CC.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 06:49 pm
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"BECAUSE OF COLUMBIA COUNTY. PERIOD."

Corgimom said, "BECAUSE OF COLUMBIA COUNTY. PERIOD."

Heh, true. I try to be tactful at times, but that is the truth.

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 07:06 pm
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"I try to be tactful at times, but that is the truth."

"Tactful," you say? But, truthful?

Tell me, oh tactful and truthful one....In which county do all these wealthy people living in Columbia County earn all this income?

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 08/01/13 - 08:11 pm
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Edit

Edit

Pops
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Pops 08/01/13 - 07:25 pm
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Looks to me

like the real bargain would be for some major retailers to move into the Regency Mall property......I wonder why they don't???? Wonder if the location has anything to do with it?????

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 07:30 pm
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Harley asked, "Tell me, oh

Harley asked, "Tell me, oh tactful and truthful one....In which county do all these wealthy people living in Columbia County earn all this income?"

Probably Hancock or Taliaferro.

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 07:32 pm
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Mr. Gage Creed....

What, exactly, are you trying to prove with your link?

I have stipulated MANY times that people who live in Columbia County do, on average, make more money than do people living in Richmond County.

Absolutely no disagreement from me.

My question is....in which county do all those rich(er) people MAKE their money?

Having lived in half a dozen other metropolitan statistical areas around the country, it has been my observation that relatively wealthy sub-urban areas often cluster around centers of employment where those suburb dwellers earn their money.

The relationship between Columbia County and Richmond County is hardly a unique one.

What I find to be unique, at least in my experience, is the way so many people who make their money in Richmond County, choose to live in a suburb, but take so much pleasure in badmouthing the county (and often the citizens) of the county that pays their bills.

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 07:34 pm
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"Probably Hancock or Taliaferro"

I thought you were claiming to be tactful and truthful?

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 07:52 pm
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"Wonder if the location has anything to do with it?????"

Sure it does. Location has something to do with all real estate transactions. You would agree there might be other factors though, I'm sure. One might well be price. Another might be projected costs to rehab/rebuild. There might be others...

KSL
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KSL 08/01/13 - 07:53 pm
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Don't some of the people who

Don't some of the people who live in Cola Co work at SRS?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 07:56 pm
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Didn't Mean To Get On Your Lawn

Harley, I didn't mean to get on your lawn, but I have stated many times I view Richmond County as providing the jobs for the wealthier Columbia County residents. I said that as late as about two days ago I believe. Richmond Cty provides the jobs, hospitals as of now, college and lots of urban entertainment (and I don't mean that last item as a joke.). Evans recently was chosen as the best town in Georgia for young families, using very objective statistics. But that would NOT be possible without the jobs provided by RC.

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 07:58 pm
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"Don't some of the people who live in Cola Co work at SRS?"

Sure they do, though it's a pretty long haul each way. When I worked at SRS it seemed most lived on the SC side of the river. Aiken, North Augusta and some of the smaller towns around the area. A fairly good number (including me) lived in Richmond County.

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 08/01/13 - 08:12 pm
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Edit

Edit

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 08:04 pm
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You're Not On My Lawn....

...I was really asking those who were posting the link to the income data and seeming to find something startling that Columbia County residents had higher incomes than Richmond County residents.

There really isn't any dispute, as far as I'm concerned.

All of which, by the way, can account for where businesses tend to locate. What they want is traffic. If they can locate along the routes between where people work and where people live they will likely take either County, assuming both want them equally.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 08:05 pm
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Gage, in defense of

Gage, in defense of Countyman, believe that or not, he was for some reason referring to Clarke County. I have no idea why, but I guess he wanted to find a large county worse off than Richmond.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 08:06 pm
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Harley said, "All of which,

Harley said, "All of which, by the way, can account for where businesses tend to locate. What they want is traffic. If they can locate along the routes between where people work and where people live they will likely take either County, assuming both want them equally."

I couldn't agree with you more. What's important is to recognize the dynamic.

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 08/01/13 - 08:10 pm
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Harley... Riverman1... if

Harley... Riverman1... if indeed countyman was referencing Clarke County (and how did that get in the conversation) I will withdraw my posts.

KSL
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KSL 08/01/13 - 08:11 pm
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Yes Harley, I realize they

Yes Harley, I realize they come from all over a very large Aiken County and from across the river.

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 08:14 pm
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"....I do take issue with those who deliberately....

....deliberately post falsehoods to bolster their argument and do it time and time again."

Me too. It bothers me a lot. So does all the badmouthing of Richmond County by non-residents/non-taxpayers. I happen to live in Richmond County by choice. I could live in Columbia County, but don't want to. You don't see me spending hours every day searching for some reason(s) to insult, or make fun of, Columbia County, or CC residents.

Enough....already.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 08:16 pm
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Gage, don't feel bad. I

Gage, don't feel bad. I thought the same thing for a second. Who knows why he put it up? His rationale isn't always level.

KSL
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KSL 08/01/13 - 08:19 pm
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I hate statistics. Median,

I hate statistics. Median, mean, mode. What do you want to prove?

KSL
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KSL 08/01/13 - 08:21 pm
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Which lies are you going to

Which lies are you going to use?

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 08/01/13 - 08:25 pm
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Harley... I grew up South

Harley...

I grew up South Side and no matter where I live I will be South Side, but as I have said before... let's just tell the truth...warts and all.

I think you may have misinterpreted my post, I was not insulting or making fun of RC or RC residents, I was calling out a snake oil salesman that has shown that he has no problem with embellishments.

Agreed... Enough.....already

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 08:26 pm
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Why Clark County?

He was pretty clear about Clark County and Athens, saying some in here often bring up Athens as another place superior to Augusta, Richmond County. It wasn't unintentional. I don't think it was a trick either.

harley_52
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 08:32 pm
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Thanks GC...

...for clearing that up. I've never known you to be someone looking for a fight.

I must admit that my view of Countyman's posts seems to be far different from several others. I have zero problem with his optimistic view of ARC and he has become, by far, my best source for finding out some of the development plans for the area.

I think tonight's dust up was mainly a misunderstanding caused by some incorrect assumptions/misreading of what had been said.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 08:34 pm
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About Clarke County

Speaking of statistics, when you throw 35,000 low income UGA students into 116,000 people Clarke County, it's easy to be deceived.

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 08/01/13 - 08:42 pm
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Harley... One last thing... I

Harley...

One last thing... I fully support being positive... but also support tempering that enthusiasm with a strong dose of well grounded realism.

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