Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program

School free-lunch program dogged by abuses at CPS, By Monica Eng and Joel Hood, January 13, 2012, Chicago Tribune: “When a teachers assistant at Chicago’s North-Grand High School handed in her child’s lunch form last school year, it showed that her household made too much money for the child to receive free lunches. So the school’s assistant clerk told the woman to fill out a new one, explaining, ‘She shouldn’t have to pay for lunch,’ and besides, ‘Nobody checks the applications anyway,’ according to an inspector general’s report released last week. Apparently, word had gotten around. At the West Side school, more than a dozen CPS and city employees had submitted false applications for free or reduced-price lunches, according to James Sullivan, Chicago Public Schools’ inspector general. The alleged offenders included teachers, teachers assistants, district employees, a security officer and two people in law enforcement, some of them earning six-figure salaries. The findings led Sullivan to conclude in his report that the National School Lunch Program, meant to provide basic nutrition to needy students, was ‘ripe for fraud and abuse’ because of layers of bureaucracy, incentives for high enrollment, and minimal checks and balances…”

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