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High rate of La Crosse district students qualify for free and reduced meals



For families struggling, a federal program allows their child to continue getting a nutritious and balanced breakfast and lunch at school.

It’s a number that hasn’t changed since last school year, but 47 percent of La Crosse School District students qualify for the free and reduced meal program.

Lyn Halvorson, the district’s nutrition supervisor, thinks the high percentage proves the importance of the program.

“If a child is not well nourished and alert when they go into class, you can have the most wonderful teacher in the world and the kid won’t remember that,” Halvorson said.

Those who are in the program get the same meal as everyone else, and there is nothing to indicate they are in that program.

Halvorson says they rely on the community to help out with costs.

“We have the La Crosse Community Foundation that helps us through the lunch fund by giving money,” Halvorson said. “We have food pantries in all of our schools, the Beer By Bike Brigade has fundraisers to help us pay off lunch debt.”

The program is income and family-sized base. The rate of students in the meal plan was the same as in 2018-19.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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