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Child Poverty Stats Conflict; $ At Stake (New Haven Independent)

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More New Haven families are sliding into poverty — at least according to a count of students that state officials are now second-guessing.

A year ago, state and local officials tallied up 14,919 students within New Haven’s school system who are growing up in cash-strapped households.

If those numbers are right, they would mean that, 2,997 local kids had recently fallen into poverty, qualifying them for a subsidized school lunch. That would mark a 25 percent increase in just one year, for a total of about 14,900 kids whose families are struggling to pay the bills.

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Overall, “an increase of 26,000 [subsidized lunch]-eligible students is a five percentage point increase in the number of students identified as low-income,” said Michael Morton, a spokesperson for the CT School Finance Project. “An increase of this size would put the number of children identified as low-income at 16,000 higher than the highest [free & reduced price lunch participation] count in recent history at a period of declining enrollment statewide.”

Read the full article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/childhood_poverty_free_lunch_counts/