Even in a state with high poverty rates, Nampa is a high-poverty district.
In 2014-15, 64 percent of Nampa’s 14,892 students qualified for free or reduced-price school lunch. In five Nampa elementary schools, this percentage topped 80 percent — well above the statewide average of 49 percent.
So this year, Nampa is making lunch and breakfast available to all students, at no charge, at 11 schools. The district is using a new federal policy that is designed to cut paperwork, increase school lunch participation and remove the stigma from the public subsidy. The underlying goal is to make sure students are better fed and better prepared to concentrate on their classwork.
But not everybody is on board with the new policy. And the superintendent of one of the state’s poorest districts is taking a wait-and-see approach.