Missouri U.S. Senate candidates Claire McCaskill and Todd Akin sparred Thursday over whether taxpayers should subsidize school lunches for more than 34 million students across the country, over half a million in Missouri alone.
“Is it something the federal government should do?” Akin said. “I answer it no. … I think the federal government should be out of the education business.” “The problem with the Senate farm bill is the fact that you’ve got 80 percent of it that isn’t a farm bill at all.” Rawstory 8/17/2012
Missouri receives about $179 million each year from the federal school lunch program, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for years. The program feeds 646,000 children, about 400,000 of which have a family income low enough to receive lunches for free or at a reduced rate.
According to the Daily Columbia Tribune About 22 percent of Ridgeway students last year qualified for discounted meals through the free and reduced price lunch program. That was the second lowest percentage in Columbia Public Schools, where the average was 43 percent. Of the district’s 30 schools, 15 had rates of 50 percent or higher.
The federal program pays the district $2.86 for each free meal served, $2.46 for each reduced-price meal and 27 cents for each full-price meal provided. Each meal contains, on average, about 22 cents worth of commodities.