Part of our application will have to do with demonstrating that we have underserved population. Another part will be asking for a waiver of the grant's 20% local match requirement. Both of which hinge on clearly explaining the depths of Hartford's poverty. I sent this to the Boss this evening:
Attached is an extract of our E-Rate demographic data. It doesn't demonstrate under-served directly, but it certainly establishes impoverishment.
As a school district, 80.30% of Hartford's students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch under National School Lunch Program guidelines. From an E-Rate perspective this translates into an 86% discount rate. This marks us as poorer than Waterbury (85% discount), and it stands in stark contrast to the discount rates of our surrnounding suburbs: Avon (40%), Glastonbury (39%) and Simsbury (40%). By the USDA's rubric, 4 out of 5 students in Hartford's schools are poor enough to need assistance to get lunch.
This, however, is not the entire story. Hartford's poverty -- as measured by NSLP eligibility -- is diluted by the district's success in drawing suburban students into it's interdistrict magnet schools. If we set aside the NSLP data for these five magnet schools, a grimmer picture emerges. Looking at the 35 schools that only enroll Hartford students, 84.82% of those students qualify under NSLP. The mean qualification level for these schools is 86.20%, with a median of 93.32%. Put simply, in half of Hartford's schools, more than 9 out of 10 children come from impoverished families.
Next time you're on the street, look left, look right, and imagine that only one out of every ten people you see comes from a family with enough money to buy a goddamn hot lunch.
Oh yeah, and contrary to most of human history, summer is a hungry time in Hartford. Schools are closed so many children have no place to get breakfast, let alone lunch.
I feel a real rant coming on, so I'll stop now. The figures speak for themselves.