Universal breakfast and lunch for students which recently passed at the Minnesota legislature has raised some concerns for many schools in the state including St. Cloud School District 742.  St. Cloud School Superintendent Laurie Putnam joined me on WJON.  She indicates that due to the economic status of many of the families in their school district they depend on compensatory revenue from the state.  With the state switching to universal meals that causes some questions.

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Putnam explains a student who qualifies for free lunch as a 1.0 funding and that free lunch data counts as .5 of the 1.0.  She says compensatory funding for this school year counts for the next school year which ensures that the funding will be there for the 2023-2024 school year.  Putnam explains the money that was generated for this year was generated from direct certification.  She says that has never been done before.  It was a pilot program so families who qualified for several elements of state aid were automatically certified into the free lunch meals.

Putnam says the school district did a huge push for families to fill out these forms in case the direct certification didn't work.  She indicates because of the push for more families to fill out the information they have the highest compensatory revenue that they've had in a long time for the next school year.  Putnam says that gives them insurance that the compensatory revenue will be available to them through the 2024-2025 school year.  She says no one knows what will happen with this revenue after that.

Putnam says:

" Of course we want universal meals for all the students especially for those where money is tight.  We're glad for that."

Putnam confirmed the government funded compensatory revenue will be their for them for the next 2 school years but after that is unknown.

If you'd like to listen to my full conversation with Laurie Putnam it is available below.



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