By Molly Messick
LARAMIE, wyo – As the number of Wyoming residents receiving food stamp benefits has gone up over the last two years, so has the number of children who are eligible for free school lunches. This year, school districts are using a new computer program that notifies districts of students who are automatically eligible for free lunch because their families receive food stamps. Tamra Jackson is the Department of Education's Nutrition Program Supervisor.
"This system I feel, without a doubt, there are going to be many less children that would fall through the cracks," says Jackson. "In fact I don't see how any of them could, because the districts are required by regulation to directly certify the children. They have the information monthly. Where the old system - once a year they would get those letters."
Jackson says the new system also leaves much less room for human error. Last year, more than 21 thousand students in Wyoming received free lunches. Close to 9 thousand were eligible for reduced price lunch.