School officials in the Florida Keys say more students are taking free and reduced-price meals since Hurricane Irma.
Since Feb. 1, the Monroe County school district is running a $400-a-day deficit in its free and reduced-price meals program as more than half of all students are on free or reduced lunches following Hurricane Irma, which struck five months ago.
Fifty-nine percent of Monroe County students are now on the federal meals program. Before Irma, the figure was in the 30 percent range. Of 8,171 students, 4,748 are eating for free.
Because the program is federal, it cannot acquire debt and can’t use any surplus funding to make up the difference.
A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2018 edition of Education Week as More Students in the Florida Keys Need Federal School Meals Since Irma