Sarasota News Leader

10/12/12

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A CONTINUING CONCERN Almost half the students in the Sarasota County Public Schools are from families that cannot afford the full price of school meals. iStock photo SARASOTA COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS OFFICIALS EXPECT ABOUT 50% OF STUDENTS THIS YEAR WILL QUALIFY FOR FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE MEALS By Scott Proffitt Staff Writer As of Oct. 10, the Sarasota County Schools was serving 15,497 free meals and 3,009 re- duced-price lunches to students every day. The number reflects 47% of all lunches the dis- trict serves, Lisa Wood, resource manager in the Food and Nutrition Services Department, told The Sarasota News Leader this week. However, that number is changing daily, Wood said. "One hundred to 200 applications a day are still coming in," Wood told the News Leader. With that number increasing rapidly, depart- ment staff is hustling to process all the appli- cations, she added. This school year, Wood expects to see the dis- trict hit the 50% mark for the total number of students receiving free or reduced-price meals. That is about the same percentage dis- trict staff recorded last year, she said. In spite of the trend, which has grown since the Great Recession hit, applying for this sort of assistance can be a delicate subject for fam- ilies, Wood said. "Some parents don't want their kids to know [about their financial situation]," Wood said.

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