More than Half of Students Qualify for Free Lunches
One million kids in Illinois now qualify for reduced-price or free lunches. That's more than half the number of students attending public schools in the state.
The number of kids eligible for the program has increased more than 10 percent since 2003.
Officials at the State Board of Education believe this is due to the economic challenges our country as a whole is facing, leaving more families struggling to provide nutritious meals for their children.
"Our focus is that we want to try to help them make sure that we can fill their stomachs and that they're able to concentrate on learning, as opposed to being hungry and wondering when they're going to get their next meal," ISBE representative Amanda Simhauser said.
Officials said the reduced price and free lunch program provides students with equal opportunities for learning.