Campaign under way to save school meals

BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. /*Superintendent Jack O'Connell*/ is ringing the alarm, and on Friday at the /*LAUSD*/ nutrition center, he announced emergency legislation to ensure the program will stay up and running.

The school meals program has seen a dramatic 4.5 percent increase, providing 28 million more meals in 2008 than in 2007. Officials expect those numbers to continue climbing in 2009.

O'Connell says he blames the situation on the current economic crisis, as more families rely on the free or reduced priced meals program.

The program also provides breakfast for students, and educators say that is a key part of the program because so many students come to school hungry.

Officials said the loss of the subsidized meals program would be devastating, and LAUSD alone could lose $10 million.

The legislation announced on Friday would provide more than $19 million in state funding.

The federal government provides $2.17 to $2.57 for each free or reduced priced meal under the current system, and the state provides an additional $0.22.


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