Oklahoma Student Poverty

Oklahoma City, OK – Student poverty increases in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A new report from the state Department of Education says the growth rate in student poverty is more than double what it has been in previous years.

The findings are in the agency's 2009-2010 Low Income Report released Monday. State Schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett says officials had expected an increase in student poverty due to the slumping economy.

Student poverty has been growing at a rate of 1 percent or less in recent years. The report says the poverty rate among public school students is now almost 59 percent, up by more than 2 percent from last year's rate of about 56 percent.

The report says nearly 322,000 public school students, or 49 percent of Oklahoma's students, are eligible to receive free school meals.