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JCPS Looks at Free Lunch For All

During the Jackson County Board of Education’s meeting on August 22nd, board member Wes Jamison initiated a discussion about the provision of free lunches in all schools, noting that this practice was becoming prevalent in other counties in Western North Carolina. He shared that concerned parents were inquiring about the possibility of implementing such a program in their district. Jamison questioned whether it was feasible to approach the county commissioners to secure the additional funding required for this initiative.

In response to these queries, School Superintendent Dana Ayers expressed interest and emphasized the importance of understanding how other districts were financing their free lunch programs. Ayers pointed out that to extend this benefit to all schools in their district, they would need approximately $400,000 in additional funds. However, she recognized that requesting this funding at the moment might be challenging, as the county’s budget for the fiscal year was likely already finalized.

Board member Abigail Clayton acknowledged the growing financial strain on families due to inflation and stagnant salaries, highlighting the increasing struggle many faced in covering meal costs. She stressed that offering free lunches, if feasible, would be greatly appreciated by the community.

Ayers committed to conducting further research into the matter and bringing it up for future discussion.

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