Middle Tennessee school districts face changes to free lunch program

(Photo: WKRN)

WARREN COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Middle Tennessee school districts are preparing for possible changes for free and reduced lunches

Right now, if 40 percent of your students qualify for free and reduced lunches, the entire school gets free lunch and breakfast every day.

Lawmakers in Washington D.C. want to make a change. They want to raise that to 60 percent.

News 2 took a look around the state and it looks like the one of the only large counties in Tennessee that would be able to continue to offer free lunches to an entire school is Shelby County in Memphis.

If the change happens it will hit our more urban districts like Metro Schools hard, but also smaller more rural districts like Warren County.

They’ve gone to the capitol to lobby against it.

“It is working in Warren County. We have done everything you have asked as a government and we have implemented a program that you encouraged and now after we have all of our children eating you want to change it on them. The devastation that would cause us… and the chaos and probably kids that wouldn’t get fed anymore,” said Warren County Nutrition Director Sandy Dawes.

To give you some perspective of how it’s working in Warren County, before they implemented the program in their high school they were feeding about 600 kids. Now they feed 1500 high school students.

No matter what if a child qualifies for a free or reduced lunch they will always be able to get it but what about families who fall just short of qualifying.

“We have several parents here in Warren County who fall right on that line therefore they don’t get it free and sometimes they don’t even get it reduced,” said Dawes. “If you have 3 or 4 children that can lead into hundreds of dollars per month which is hard for families and CEP has helped that group of children.”

CEP stands for Community Eligibility Provision which is the program that allows for these free lunches.

The amendment was introduced in April but has not passed the House or Senate yet.


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