Subsidized School Meals

“As a measure of childhood poverty, school meal eligibility shows the impact of Wisconsin’s sluggish economy on school-age families,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers in a press release for free and reduced school meals. “Offering school meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast program is one way to impact the negative effects of poverty and combat hunger in our schools.”


Percentage of Wisconsin school students eligible for reduced-price school lunches.


Number of districts among 20 in the state that receive no state equalization aid because of high property wealth yet have free and reduced-price school meal eligibility above 50 percent of the school’s enrollment. Those tourist-area districts are Birchwood (62.1 percent), Drummond (54.8 percent), Elcho (58.3 percent), Linn (56.9 percent), Mercer (54.7 percent), Northwood (56.5 percent) and Phelps (59.1 percent).


Number of consecutive years of increased eligibility for subsidized school meals in Wisconsin.


Percentage of public school students in families that have an average income of less than $30,000 annually, thus qualifying the students for free school meals.


Percentage of Wisconsin public school students eligible for subsidized school meals in 2013-14, up 0.1 percentage point from the previous school year and 13.8 percentage points from 2003-04.


Number of school districts in the state that have 50 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, including the state’s five largest districts: Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha, Green Bay and Racine. There are a total of 414 districts in the state.


The year the National School Lunch Act was signed into law. The legislation came in response to claims that many American men had been rejected for World War II military service because of diet-related health problems. The meal program was seen as “a measure of national security.”

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction