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updated: 10/27/2011 7:38 PM

Kane schools see more poor kids, report cards say

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More children in central Kane County were reported as being low-income on public schools' 2011 state report cards.

Almost every school in the Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles and Kaneland school districts saw an increase.

Judging by percentages, Bell-Graham Elementary School in St. Charles had the most astounding jump, of 271 percent. However, it had only 0.7 percent of the total student body (about four students) deemed low-income on the 2010 report. For 2011, 2.6 percent of the children were so designated.

The state defines low-income children as those whose families receive public aid, who live in an institution for neglected or delinquent children, who live in foster homes that receive government money or who are eligible to receive free or discounted lunches.

The lunch determination uses guidelines from the National School Lunch Program; for the 2010 school year, a three-person household with an income of less than $33,874 was eligible for discounted meals, and a three-person household making less than $23,803 was eligible for free lunches.

The data does not include students who attend private schools or who are educated at home. It does not include students who may qualify for the free or discounted lunches but have not signed up for them.

If a school has 45 or more low-income children, it must break them out as a subgroup when reporting how the school did as far as making "adequate yearly progress" in raising academic achievement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

In a 2009 Daily Herald article, Libertyville High School nurse Cameron Traut said malnourished students suffer from stomachaches and headaches, are more susceptible to colds and influenza, and are lethargic in the classroom -- sometimes even falling asleep.

By district

• In the Kaneland district, 12.4 percent of students were deemed low-income, up from 9 percent last year. The highest percentage was at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn, with 15.7 percent.

• St. Charles rose to 12 percent from 8.9 percent. On the high end was Richmond Elementary, continuing to top all schools with its 63.6 percent, or 225 students. The next highest by percentage continued to be Anderson Elementary School, where 49 more students qualified, even though the school enrolled 43 fewer students.

• The Batavia district stayed nearly the same, at 10.8 percent. Hoover-Wood Elementary School continued to have the highest enrollment of low-income students, at 18.4 percent. Last year it had 14 percent. Alice Gustafson dropped almost 1 percentage point, to 12.1 percent.

• Geneva's district rate increased by a third, to 5.5 percent. Of its nine schools, two had much higher percentages than the rest: Harrison Street Elementary, with 18.9 percent, and Williamsburg Elementary, with 9.3 percent. Last year, their figures were 12 and 6 percent.

West Aurora District 129 has not released its report-card data yet. Last year, the district had a poverty rate of 45 percent. The district has through Monday to release the report cards.

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