By Aamna Arshad ’18 and Ashley Masih ’18
NYC public schools have introduced a new policy that allows every student attending public schools to be able to enjoy free lunch.
“Every public school student, from Pre-K through 12th grade is entitled free lunch, whether you fill out a lunch form or not. If you want school lunch you get school lunch at no charge,” said Mr. Alan Stack.
Up until this year, students who did not meet the federal minimum income requirement had to pay $1.75 to be able to eat school lunch. However, a new policy was announced by Chancellor Carmen Farina on September 6, 2017. Now, all students, no matter what their economic status, can enjoy free lunch in school. This new policy provides free lunch to about 1.1 million students who started school this year.
According to the New York Times, the new policy provides free lunch to 200,000 more students and saves each family about $300 a year. Prior to the new policy about 75 percent of all public school students qualified for free lunch, because of this, City officials didn’t expect to cost the city more money than it normally does.
Many Hornets feel that the new policy is beneficial to students who don’t fall under the minimum income requirements.
“I think it’s a great idea, I don’t understand why some students would have to pay because their parents have a higher income. It’s not their fault their parents make a lot of money so they shouldn’t have to pay more, “ said Ufaq Tahir ’18.
Rafaella Bruazal ’18, believes, “The new policy makes it more convenient and easier for students. They don’t have to worry about not having enough money on them to pay for lunch. There will be one less thing that they have to worry about when they are in school.”
Teachers also believe that this new policy is beneficial for students; however, it may prove to be unfavorable for the school as a whole.
“There is no reason not to be for it, if the kids are hungry, then let them eat,” said Mr. Stack. “However, this new policy makes it harder for the school to receive Title I funding
from the federal government. Students will not be as inclined as they were before to return lunch forms because they already are receiving free lunch even if they don’t return the lunch forms.”
Title I funding from the federal government is given to schools based on how many
students attending their school are approved to get free or reduced price lunch. This federal funding is used to help a targeted assistance population, which is basically any student who is coming in with a score of level 1 or level 2 on state exams, has failed any necessary regents exam, or might not be on track to graduate. The funding is used to create supplemental programs that will help those students be on track to graduate.
Midwood is currently looking into a Saturday School Program that will help students who need extra help, after-school programs, extended testing modifications, as well as a lateness prevention program. Midwood is also hoping to extend the library hours, which will allow more resources to be available to students for extended periods of time.
“It is imperative that students return their school lunch forms because it benefits the school as a whole, and allows the school to continue to receive this Title I funding. There are also a number of benefits that students become eligible to receive, such as SAT and AP Exam fee waivers,” said Mr. Stack.
Though now all students can receive free lunch, the school is still encouraging lunch forms to be filled out by November first, whether it’s by letting English teachers give them out, social media or daily announcements.