Number of low-income students reaches record in Charlotte

For the first time, low-income students make up more than half of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' enrollment, as the recession has pushed more families into poverty.

About 2,100 additional students qualified for lunch subsidies to low-income families in the past three months. As of this week, CMS has 68,851 students eligible for lunch aid – used nationwide as a measure of school poverty – and 67,149 who aren't, according to numbers requested by the Observer.

That pushes the poverty level, which has hovered between 46 and 49 percent for the past five years, to 50.6 percent.

Superintendent Peter Gorman said Wednesday he isn't shocked to hear that the economy is cutting family incomes, but 50 percent is “a magic number to some people,” signaling “you're an impoverished school district.”

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