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No free school lunches for you, Ag commish Putnam

by 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.

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6 Responses to “No free school lunches for you, Ag commish Putnam”

  1. InTheKnow Says:

    Can we say kickbacks to the Dept of Education from the food vendors….

  2. Mike Says:

    If there is an issue for bi-partisanship that benefits Florida’s children and agriculture interests its Putnam’s proposal.
    Why doesn’t he go the Bill Nelson and the White House directly?
    It seems to fit in with at least Michelle Obama’s vision of more healthful local foods being available to the American diet.
    She seems to have some power with the President, after all, she made him quit smoking.

  3. Stickler Says:

    That first paragraph could use another look.

  4. State should take over Says:

    I can tell you that only a small percentage of Free and Reduced Lunch Application in the public school system is verified.

    Just apply and it will be approved, if you put down the right income levels and other information. The schools CAN’T verify the humungous number of applications.

    There are people taking advantage of the situation. It’s gone on for years.

    What was once a good program for low income people is now abused; just like other government programs (wait till ObamaCare kicks in).

    Hope the State takes over!

  5. Kevin Says:

    56 percent of Florida student’s quality for free lunch? And we have a super republican majority in both state houses. How in the hell did that happen without fraud playing a part? It probably didn’t. The public school system should be very wary of anything republicans want to do because we all know they just want to destroy the public system in favor of privatization and do away with any program that benefits the poor. What sounds like a good idea on its face is probably a Trojan horse.

  6. Nick Naranja Says:

    The more money we can keep in the state via purchases of locally produced products, the better off we will be.

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