There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
—Milton Friedman

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(6-23-17) – Free lunches could determine the classifications in the Idaho High School Activities Association in the future.

The proposal on the table would change how schools are currently being assigned according to their student enrollment, the new plann  was discussed recently by the IHSAA board of directors June meeting , it would take into account the socio-economic status and competitive history at each member school. After discussion the proposal passed 10-3, it will now need to pass a second time, which could happen at the next meeting August 2nd. If it does pass it would take effect starting in the 2018-19 school year.

What the proposal would do if approved:

A school that has 1,000 students and 50 percent (500) get free or reduced lunch, it could deduct as many as 125 students from 1,000 for an adjusted enrollment of 875.

Caldwell High Athletic Director Josh Hegstad told the Idaho Statesman
“If it’s truly all about kids — and everyone in the state would say that it is, and I think they believe it — it’s not in the best interest of a kid to go get beat by 70 points every week. This system is not about dropping a level and hanging a banner in the gym. It’s to allow teams to compete week in and week out.”

Reasons given to help systems who face this issue include:

  • higher dropout rates
  • fewer athletes
  • more special education students
  • reduced opportunities for off-season camps and training

That’s why Hegstad submitted the proposal to the state association, the other reason is, Caldwell has the highest free or reduced lunch rate, 63 percent, in the state among 5A and 4A schools.

The proposal is based on Oregon’s plan that is already in place.

Oregon School Activities Association

6.3.2. SES Factor. A school’s socioeconomic (SES) factor shall be subtracted from a school’s base number to create an adjusted base number. The SES factor shall be determined by:

(a) Public Schools. Using the school’s free lunch number as reported by the Oregon Department of Education, multiplied by 25%.

(b) Private Schools. Using the school’s free lunch number as reported by the private school to the OSAA, multiplied by 25%. The OSAA shall verify that private schools are following the same household size and income guidelines required by the Oregon Department of Education.