Today’s news:

A school lunch form could earn a trip to Hawaii.

The city Department of Education (DOE) has teamed up with the New York Jets to offer parents a tropical incentive if they complete and submit their children’s free and reduced-price lunch applications.

On December 23, the DOE and Jets will hold a random drawing to select a grand-prize winner. The winning family will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2009 National Football League Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

The free trip is meant to publicize the importance of the school meal applications.

On the application, parents must reveal their annual income, which determines if their child is eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The number of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches determines how much funding the school will receive from the federal government.

In recent years, many parents did not submit the applications and, as a result, their children’s schools suffered.

In 2005, several schools lost their Title One funding, including P.S. 235 in East Flatbush, which lost nearly $1 million.

“Eating properly is essential for children’s health and academic performance,” schools Chancellor Joel Klein said. “We want every child who is eligible to get their meals at school either for free or at a reduced price, and we need to receive forms from parents to ensure that this happens.”

To be eligible to win the trip to Hawaii, applications must be processed by November 26. Parents can obtain the forms at their children’s schools or fill them out online at the DOE’s School Food Web site, www.opt-osfns.org/osfns.

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