More than 300 schools in Louisiana have adopted a federal universal, free meal initiative offered to schools and districts in which at least 40% of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. While the program is popular among participating schools because of higher meal participation and a lack of stigma for eating school meals, about one-third of the state's schools have taken a "wait and see" approach to the program.
The East Baton Rouge Parish School System in Louisiana is signing on to the federal Community Eligibility Provision, which provides universal, free meals for all students -- regardless of family income. Officials estimate that providing meals for those students will cost an additional $500,000 annually.
A Louisiana parish is considering raising school meal prices for the first time since 2008 in response to increased food costs and other expenses. Under the proposal, elementary-school meals would increase to $1.75 from $1.50, and middle- and high-school students would pay $2 instead of $1.75 for lunch. Breakfast prices would increase to $1.50.
The Hammond, La., City Council held a public hearing and voted to amend an ordinance that banned the sale of alcohol containing more than 5% alcohol by volume on Sundays. The council amended the law to allow retailers and supermarkets to sell alcohol on Sundays, but bars are still prohibited from Sunday sales.
A six-year turnaround plan designed to bring the Baton Rouge, La., school district up from a "C" to an "A" state rating includes adding wellness teams to school campuses. Superintendent Pat Cooper said the district would use existing monies more wisely but community partnerships could help pay for health and wellness initiatives.