Schools work to combat low economic well-being rating

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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SHARP COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Schools in North Arkansas are working to combat the state’s low economic well-being rating.

Arkansas ranked 43rd in the nation for total economic well-being.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools have taken some type of financial hit, and the effects are affecting the parents of students as they return to the classroom.

Schools in Sharp County are trying to help to their part to help those struggling families.

Studies from the US Census Bureau showed about 18% of Sharp County’s population was in poverty.

The Highland School District is one of the many school districts with programs to help those that need assistance.

Student Services Director Kara McEntire said the school offers multiple food programs and free lunches for all its students.

“Currently, we serve free meals to all students in our districts because we qualified at the free and reduced rate at over 70%, and we participate in the CEP [Community Eligibility Program],” she said.

McEntire said the school tries its best to help those that need food in their cabinets.

“We have a weekly backpack program on each one of our campuses. We also utilize some federal funding that we have available to us for any students that are considered to be homeless. We have local programs, including the school district’s charitable fund that assists students in need,” she said.

For those who are afraid to ask for help, McEntire said they should know that schools are ready to help the best they can.

“Sometimes, our teachers recognize those that are in need, but sometimes, those needs are not always known, so if you feel that your child needs assistance, feel free to reach out to your building’s principal. Students and family members may also contact me at the central office, and we will provide any assistance that we are able to,” she said.

For more information on how you can get help, visit the Highland School District’s website.