Overstating Low-Income Enrollment, Again

Overstating the number of low-income students has implications for both state and federal budgets.

The Lawrence Journal-World picks up on the LPA report on “at-risk” enrollment that we talked about yesterday. It mentions that the funds for free lunches actually comes through the federal government. That’s a point we should have made yesterday, though it got overlooked.

More interesting, though, is the reminder from the LJW that “At-risk funds are spent on a number of education programs and don’t necessarily go to help free lunch students.”

The newspaper also points out a discrepancy between state numbers and census numbers: “The Census Bureau data said there were 76,000 children at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level, while there were more than 130,000 free lunch students.”

So it looks like there is some overcounting going on. Why? One reason may be that school officials can’t do a good job of auditing.  “Under federal law, [Paula] Murrish [director of food services at Lawrence USD 497] said she is allowed to verify only 3 percent of both free and reduced lunch recipients.

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