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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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harley_52
21778
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 09:01 pm
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"...when you throw 35,000 low income UGA students....

....into 116,000 people Clarke County, it's easy to be deceived."

Are the students included in the census data, or are they counted in their home addresses? How about soldiers at Fort Gordon for training?

countyman
18844
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countyman 08/01/13 - 09:02 pm
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1
Corgimom.... I clearly said

Corgimom.... I clearly said name the counties(NON SUBURBAN) who are richer compared to Richmond County...

The majority of the counties you listed are suburbs of larger cities(Atlanta, Savannah, Macon, Columbus, Augusta, and Athens)..

Those are definitely not the accurate 2010 median incomes either, because the census has the median income listed at $37,866 and not $34,552..

The population of Columbia County is about 75,000 less than Richmond County. The county may be overall richer, but West Augusta, Summerville/Forest Hills are much richer than everywhere in Columbia County except for Martinez and Evans.

harley_52
21778
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 09:03 pm
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"I fully support being positive...

....but also support tempering that enthusiasm with a strong dose of well grounded realism."

Definitely agree.

So what did Countyman say that was unrealistic, or misleading?

countyman
18844
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countyman 08/01/13 - 09:15 pm
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Facts

How come the same people who bash Augusta constantly want to provide any random link they could find related to median incomes, but not include the direct link to the census?

Richmond County is listed at $37,866 and not this imaginary $34,552
http://www.census.gov/did/www/saipe/downloads/estmod10/est10ALL.xls

People want us to believe the businesses coming to RC are due to the wealthy residents living in Columbia County. When the residents living in West Augusta, Summerville, and Forest Hills are wealthier than the majority of residents living in Columbia County..

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 09:34 pm
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Harley

Ft. Gordon soldiers living in the barracks are not counted, but they are actually getting paid. The median age of Clarke County is 25. Richmond County 33.

Riverman1
78413
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 09:23 pm
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"People want us to believe

"People want us to believe the businesses coming to RC are due to the wealthy residents living in Columbia County."

See the problem here. We don't recognize the facts. Harley and I both went over the contribution of both counties.

Riverman1
78413
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 09:25 pm
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"The county may be overall

"The county may be overall richer, but West Augusta, Summerville/Forest Hills are much richer than everywhere in Columbia County except for Martinez and Evans."

Which proves absolutely nothing. What's your point that there are wealthier and poorer areas of Richmond and Columbia counties? I think we already knew that.

countyman
18844
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countyman 08/01/13 - 09:38 pm
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Facts

Harley 52... The same people(Riverman, Corgimom, Gage Creed. GnipGnop, Pops, etc) constantly bash Richmond County daily..

Look at how Riverman is trying to spin the median income of Clarke County simply because it's lower compared to Richmond?

Read the comment from Corgimom where she tries to portray the only reason why large retailers are moving here is due to the land in Richmond County being cheap. Who in their right mind would believe the land in West Augusta is cheap compared to the land in Columbia County? Especially when Columbia County includes places like Grovetown and Harlem.

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

Corgimom took this comment and turn my words around as usual... She went and got a random link showing FALSE median incomes for every county, but I clearly said don't list the suburban counties.

Let's compare Richmond County versus counties with the central cities since Corgimom and her friends want everybody to believe Richmond County is doing so bad compared to anywhere else..

Fulton $53,580(Atlanta)
Chatham $42,728(Savannah)
Richmond $37,866(Augusta)
Muscogee $36,359(Columbus)
Bibb $36,220(Macon)
Clarke $34,000(Athens)

glengarryross
11
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glengarryross 08/01/13 - 09:38 pm
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2
Are the people that are commenting here adults

These are children it dont matter if there black people.
Reading the comment here are making me sick, you augustans are 70 yrs behind the rest of the world please get me out of here!!!!

countyman
18844
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countyman 08/01/13 - 09:43 pm
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Fact

Recognize what facts?

The facts are the businesses located in Richmond County, because of the demographics in Summerville, Forest Hills, and Summerville, etc..

The median income of Columbia County being higher than Richmond County absolutely proves nothing.

The average suburb is richer compared to the main county in the metro..

Riverman1
78413
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 09:48 pm
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"The median income of

"The median income of Columbia County being higher than Richmond County absolutely proves nothing."

Sure it doesn't, sure it doesn't. Say it again.

Riverman1
78413
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 09:53 pm
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But here you are accurate:

But here you are accurate: "The average suburb is richer compared to the main county in the metro.."

Look, you've got to understand the dynamics of a metro area. I've said in this very thread about the importance of Richmond County providing jobs, hospitals, college and entertainment. But Columbia County residents have way more disposable income than Richmond County folks. It's absolutely backwards to not understand stores look at the buying power of Columbia County when they locate in West Augusta.

Riverman1
78413
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Riverman1 08/01/13 - 09:57 pm
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"Look at how Riverman is

"Look at how Riverman is trying to spin the median income of Clarke County simply because it's lower compared to Richmond?"

Well, you brought Clarke County into the mix. I simply said, let's look at that county and its population. Average age of Clarke County because of the UGA students with little income 25, Richmond County average age 33, state of Ga average age 35.

Augustaisdying
530
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Augustaisdying 08/01/13 - 10:18 pm
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School lunch is not bad
Unpublished

I'm enjoying the banter, and much has already been said.

I CAN say that I ate (and paid for) school lunch for years when I was teaching. Overall, a great value. I think it was three bucks or so, and I didn't have to fix my own lunch every day.

It's mostly canned and frozen food, but so is what you eat at most restaurants in Augusta. Trust me on that. I worked in enough restaurants around here when I was in college.

At that time, it was a Sysco truck that dropped off the same products to every restaurant, each using the prefab stuff to create variations.

It's probably a different company now that delivers the pablum.

I digress. The best school lunch was a BBQ chicken breast with turnip greens, rice, some green beans, and corn bread.

The floppy pizza is not great, but I like it because it seems like the same floppy pizza that I ate in high school.

All packets of salad dressing are now low-fat, and all of them suck.

Turkey tetrazini (sp?) always did my belly right.

Also, I sweet-talked some of the lunchladies, so they would give me the biggest chicken breast (still robin-sized) when it was BBQ chicken day.

GnipGnop
11422
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GnipGnop 08/01/13 - 10:32 pm
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I do not bash ARC'.....I state facts, Talk about politics

I talk about unfair taxes, I talk about no or slow police response to crimes in South Augusta, I talk about the horrible Gordon Highway corridor from Barton Chapel road to the state line. I talk about the unfair trash tax forced on south augustans and I talk about other than fast food joints no business worth a hoot locating on the south side. I talk about the sweet deals the same few old money men in ARC keep getting and the ethically awful decision to take sports tickets from vendoras trying to renew million dollar contracts and the horrible school system...that's my right as a taxpayer. It's not bashing it's the reality of what we see

Augustaisdying
530
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Augustaisdying 08/01/13 - 10:43 pm
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Dead horse
Unpublished

Locating on the county line is a great business decision. CoCo ABSOLUTELY has more disposable income per capita than RC. That certainly doesn't mean RC West Augustans (closer to CoCo county line) don't have a good deal of disposable income as well.

Countyman knows this, but his blinders and his spin prevent him from admitting it, which is just weird.

Augustaisdying
530
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Augustaisdying 08/01/13 - 10:55 pm
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Corgimom should not be
Unpublished

Corgimom should not be bashed, or "downthumbed," for pointing out the very obvious fact that Augusta does not create decent paying jobs. I would add that this is true especially if one is not in the medical community.

MANY Augustans with college degrees and experience in their fields are now in the position of having to work minimum wage jobs in Augusta because those seem to be the only available jobs.

Many people who comment here are retired, or esconced in jobs, and have no clue how bad the economic situation in Augusta really is (other than the crimes they read about in this paper).

Too many of you are simply not aware of how bad the RC economy really is.

I doubt that Countyman will will be working at Bass Pro Shop for minimum wage, and it's just another min. wage employer.

Countyman, where's the REAL job growth, you know, the ones that pay a LIVING wage?

harley_52
21778
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harley_52 08/01/13 - 10:58 pm
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When You Use...

....words like "unfair," "slow," "horrible," "unfair," "sweet," "awful," and "horrible," you really aren't talking about objective "facts," you're talking about subjective opinions. Nothing wrong with having opinions, but they really shouldn't be confused with facts.

Nothing wrong with complaining either. Taxpayers and residents who are unhappy with their government, or services provided, by all means complain. It's your right....but that's not what I was talking about. ARC is NOT perfect. No place I've ever lived is. I'm objecting to the continuous, day after day shots taken about anything to do with ARC by people who don't pay taxes here and don't live here.

Darby
23051
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Darby 08/01/13 - 11:01 pm
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“This is what’s best for children,” Mack said."

Maybe, but at least this way, the folks who have been paying the freight for others will see a tiny bit of return on their investment.

Of course, OzBama, by expanding the program, has assured that the total cost will rise exponentially, so in the long run, except for growing the power of government, nobody wins.

Well, possibly the veritable handful of families who actually do have problems paying the bills and putting food on the table.

GnipGnop
11422
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GnipGnop 08/01/13 - 11:04 pm
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0
No place is perfect you are right....

But it just seems these things are accepted in ARC as status quo and there isn't much you can do when they won't listen to their constituents and won't even follow sunshine laws and the man that runs the paper somehow gets a hand in every project run. I wish I could get these sweet deals he gets!

Dixieman
12476
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Dixieman 08/01/13 - 11:11 pm
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Um, there is no such thing as a free lunch!

Not "free". "Taxpayers to pay for school lunches" is more accurate. This is just more Socialist redistribution from the Obama administration.

traumaqueen
48
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traumaqueen 08/04/13 - 07:31 pm
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To find out that I'm 22% of

To find out that I'm 22% of the ones that have had to pay for my kids lunches is disturbing to say the least!! Glad to finally get some of MY tax dollars back. Free food for a single mom that works full time to provide for her family doesn't qualify for any assistance & can barely make ends meet so she can support the able bodied yet lazy non-contributing dredges of society is LOVING this! God forbid I forget to send in money & my child gets a pb & j sandwich while her fellow "free" students get a hot meal. You get food stamps AND free lunch?!?! Why am I feeding you TWICE when I can barely feed MY kid once?!? Sorry for you folks that are against this free program bc I am one happy Mom right now.

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