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Arkansas bill cuts National School Lunch funding for the state's struggling school districts

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Arkansas State Rep. Alan Clark proposed a bill, currently being considered by the State Senate committee on education, that will punish school districts by cutting their National School Lunch funding if they’re struggling with reading over a period of time. 

Do I have to tell you the party he belongs to?

Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale, AR)

To be clear, there is a difference between money from the National School Lunch (NSL) Act and the NSL State Categorical funding. The NSL Act helps low-income kids eat. The state categorical funding, which is the bill’s target, is based on the number of children who qualify for lunch assistance, and provides supplemental state funding that targets educational services to improve outcomes for low-income students. In other words, this necessary funding is targeted to schools that need it most.  

If passed, SB349 would reduce funds allotted to schools where less than 70 percent of students in grades three through 10 fail to qualify as “ready” or “exceeding” the state’s reading readiness tests twice in a row. If the school failed to meet that benchmark three years in a row, all funding from the program would be pulled from the school, according to the proposed bill.

Critics of the bill, which are numerous, say low-income schools will be hit the hardest. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families said that the funding the program provides is “critical to child welfare.” The Arkansas Times has a graphic on who gets hurt the most:


State Rep. Clark is spinning the bill furiously on his Facebook page: He loves teachers, he says; it only punishes districts with “decreased performance,” he says; it will rarely happen, he says; besides, he says, it’s only state funding that would be cut. 

Admittedly, many people are confused by the program’s title, which makes it appear that he wants to take food from children. This has allowed him to scream “fake news” while ignoring the real damage he wants to do. Additionally, it lets him off the hook from explaining exactly how taking money away from a struggling school is supposed to magically improve their performance.

No, State Rep. Clark doesn’t want to take their food—just their lunch money.

Some bullies never grow up.

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