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Free and reduced meal eligibility is up slightly
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Enrollment for Newton County schools has gone up by 322 from this time last year, but according to the Georgia Department of Education, 1,101 more students are eligible to receive free or reduced lunches.

Several schools saw a decrease in student enrollment for the 2009-2010 school year, but a jump in eligibility. At Veteran’s Memorial Middle School, enrollment declined 346 students, but there were 112 more children eligible for free meals and 54 more who could receive meals at a reduced price.

Oak Hill Elementary School saw enrollment drop by 75 students, but the number eligible to receive free meals increased by 18 and reduced meals by seven. The percentage of students who are eligible to receive free and reduced at Oak Hill jumped from 47.80 percent last school year to 55.95 this year.

With the exception of Fairview Theme School and Clements Middle School, all Newton County schools saw an increase in student eligibility. Liberty Middle and Live Oak Elementary, schools that opened this year, started out with 73.76 and 80.20 percent of their students eligible to receive free or reduced meals.

Middle Ridge Elementary has the largest percentage of student population in the county eligible to receive free or reduced meals at 83.01 percent, a jump from last school year when 80.45 percent of its students were eligible. There was an increase of 65 students this year at the school.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, "Georgia public school students who are members of households receiving food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits are eligible for free meals."