June 3, 2003 – The Education Department has put out an "urgent" call for parents and guardians of school children to complete and submit a socio-economic survey questionnaire that is due June 16.
Out of 1,227 questionnaires sent to parents and guardians, 420, or 34 percent, had been received by the survey organization, SK Network, as of Monday, according to a release.
SK Network is a local data collection firm headed by Solomon Kabuka, University of the Virgin Islands business administration professor.
The data gathered from the survey is to be used in determining the percentage of free, reduced-cost and paid lunches for students in the territory, Elodia Weekly, director of the Education Department's special nutrition program, said. "This information is used to determine the reimbursement the local government gets from the U.S. Department of Agriculture," she said.
The department conducts the survey as an alternative to having parents and guardians submit an annual income statement "as is done nationally in order for children to participate in the national school lunch and breakfast programs," according to a release issued on Monday.
"Because the Virgin Islands government elected to provide free meals to all children, we have been able to use the socio-economic survey instead of the annual income application as a basis for determining funding needs," Weekly said.
However, she said, if parents and guardians don't return the survey forms, "schools will be required to take income eligibility statements" for all children participating in the lunch program.
Further, Weekly said, this will "impact our ability to apply for other federal grants," since the requested information "is routinely required as part of the grant application."
Parents or guardians with questions about the survey are asked to call Kabuka at 776-0397.
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