No free school lunches for you, Ag commish Putnamby Dara Kam | March 17th, 2011
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam can’t take over administration of free and reduced lunches in public schools won’t happen, at least for a while.
Under federal law, the state Department of Education must continue to handle the free lunches and other meals unless they get a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture giving Putnam permission to take it over.
Fifty-six percent of Florida school children qualify for the federal lunch program – a 6% increase over hte past two years. To be eligible, a family of four must have an annual income of $28,665 or less.
Putnam proposed taking over the program so he could hook up Florida farmers and schools and get more home-grown fruits and vegetables into kiddies’ diets.
Putnam got a frosty reception from the state Board of Education when he pitched his plan to them earlier this week. The education department would have to request the waiver.
Education department staff say they’re waiting to see if lawmakers approve Putnam’s proposal before they ask the feds for permission to hand the program over to Putnam.