Metro Schools finds new way to track low-income families

Metro Schools finds new way to track low-income families (Image 1)

Metro Nashville Public Schools is asking all parents to provide income information in an effort to keep crucial federal funding.

This school year MNPS began offering free lunch to all students regardless of their family’s income. In the past, the free and reduced lunch program was a way for the district to track economically disadvantaged families.

Families used to fill out an application to see if they qualified for the program.

Now that all students get free and reduced lunch, the district had to find a new way to track the economically disadvantaged families.

“That survey tells us a lot of really important information about our families,” MNPS Spokesman Joe Bass said. “A lot of people don’t realize that the percentage of the economically disadvantaged families we have determines a lot of things.”

The form asks the parents to list their children’s name, school, how many people live in the household and a household income range.

Based on that information, the district will determine the percentage of its families that are economically disadvantaged.

That percentage is then used to determine how much state and federal funding MNPS receives.

The federal and state money is used for a wide range of things including buying computers, installing infrastructure and the per pupil amount of money the district gets from the state.

“We are required to track the families that are economically disadvantaged by the state and federal government,” Bass said.

The forms were sent home on Tuesday followed by a robocall from the school district telling parents to look for the form.

They are supposed to be returned by Wednesday, but it may take a few more days.

Sherita Booker got two copies of the survey because she has two children in MNPS.

“It was fine with me,” she said. “I think it is a good thing they are doing for the schools and the students.”

She continued, “Sometimes for my kids they will come home and say they didn’t eat because someone they knew didn’t have a lunch so they gave them their lunch.”

The district also sent home a form to get detailed information about each student, including a correct address. MNPS told News 2 that 10 percent of the final report cards they sent out were returned because they had an incorrect address for the student.

The form also asks for a updated contact phone number so the district can reach parents with information in the event of an emergency.

Reporter Joseph Pleasant will have the full story on News 2 at 5 and 6 p.m.

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