PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The free lunch program has been canceled at 12 Portland Public Schools starting in the fall.
The schools had been offering free meals to all their students under the federal ‘community eligibility’ program. Portland Public Schools says the cancellation of the program is due to a drop in the number of families applying for SNAP benefits, which they attributed to rising incomes in historically high poverty schools.
“Part of it is how the federal government calculates which schools are eligible, but also fewer families in some historically low-income parts of Portland are applying for food stamps,” PPS spokesperson Dave Northfield tells KOIN 6 News.
The qualify for the federal program, at least 40% of students had to be served by income-restricted plans.
Most of the schools affected are in North and East Portland.
Students from families with low incomes will still be given free or reduced meals, it just won’t happen automatically.
“The most important thing is the students who qualify for free or reduced lunch will still get it. Their families just have to apply for it now,” Northfield says. Click here to apply.
Schools cutting the program:
James John Elementary
Lane Middle School
Schools keeping the program:
Alliance at Meek
Boise Eliot/Humboldt K-8
Cesar Chavez K-8
George Middle School
Harrison Park K-8
Pioneer at Youngson
Rosa Parks Elementary