The board approved the waiver application unanimously.
While the reason for the sharp decline isn't entirely clear yet, there has been an uptick in the reported incomes of households applying for free and reduced price lunches. This school year there were some households that reported monthly incomes of $12,000, $24,000 and $45,000, far over the federal guidelines used to determine whether a student is eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, said Heidi Smith, the district's director of federal and state programs.
"I had to do a double-double take," she told the board.
When board member Laura Blakely asked whether there had been a mistake, and those numbers reported were annual incomes instead, Smith said the nutrition director also had verified the numbers and they were accurate.
Another potential reason for the decline, suggested by former trustee Steve Nelson, is that some qualified immigrant households may not be registering for free and reduced-price lunch because they are concerned that doing so will impact their ability to obtain citizenship. School food programs are not subject to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department's new restrictions on citizenship eligibility for immigrants set to take effect on Feb. 24, but that information may not be common knowledge.
Theuerkauf Elementary is one of the Mountain View Whisman School District's two Title I schools — the other is Castro Elementary. Title I is a federal program that gives financial assistance to schools with a high proportion or a high number of children from low-income families. If a school has 40% or more of its students who are low-income, the school can use Title I funding for programs to support all students; otherwise programs have to be targeted only toward low-income students.
To keep the existing Title I programs such as summer school in place through the rest of the school year, the school also has to conduct a needs assessment, develop a schoolwide plan and get board approval of that plan. It must also demonstrate that at least 25% of its students qualify as low-income, at least 30% of its students are English language learners; the school has a graduation rate lower than the state average; or that the school is otherwise performing poorly, among other factors.
This story contains 463 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.