More than half of Clark County students qualify for lunch program

For the first time ever, more than 55 percent of Clark County public school students qualified for free or reduced price lunches in 2010-11, meaning their parents' income was low enough to qualify for the federal program.

With unemployment rate hovering at 14 percent in the Las Vegas area, that record rate is expected to remain constant. The percentage of district students who qualify for the federal program has increased steadily since 2006-07 and was at 44 percent in 2009-10.

But parents are reminded that even if their situations are unchanged, they must still reapply for the program for 2011-12. The grace period for students to receive free meals based on last year's status expires today .

"For many students, their free or reduced-price lunch may be the only nutritious meal they receive on any given weekday," said Charles Anderson, director of food services for the Clark County School District

Parents can submit an application at any time if they experience a change in household income, but a new application form must be submitted every year, or their children will not continue to receive free or reduced price lunches.

Application forms in English and Spanish are available at all district schools and are online at

Processing takes a few days, so parents should turn in applications as soon as possible, Anderson said. "Numerous studies show a correlation between proper student nutrition and performance," he said.

Parents who have additional questions or need assistance can contact district food services at 800-819-7556 between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at or 702-383-0279.