Alabama schools

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Nearly 30 Alabama school systems are participating in a program to provide free breakfasts and lunches to all their students.

The Gadsden Times reports the program is meant to eliminate so-called "food deserts" where children aren't getting food.

The coordinator of Alabama's Child Nutrition Program, June Barrett, says about 28 school systems are participating and more can join later.

The federal program is available to districts or schools have at least 40 percent of students on free lunches. Entire districts or individual schools can participate.

Ben+Sam / Flickr

Several Alabama school systems will be offering breakfast and lunch free to all students when classes resume in August.

The state Department of Education says school systems qualifying for the free meals under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act have poverty levels that are 40 percent and higher.

Systems that have all or nearly all of their schools participating in the program are Montgomery County, Barbour County, Clarke County, Lowndes County, Wilcox County, Selma, Tarrant, Midfield, Chickasaw, Albertville, Dallas County, Macon County, Linden, Bessemer and Anniston.

This is the one day each year where crazy antics and colorful costumes are encouraged at the state Capitol.

   Gov. Robert Bentley is being joined Friday by mascots from Alabama's public universities to promote the upcoming College Colors Day. The annual promotional event will take place on the Capitol's south lawn at 3:30 p.m. It always includes the mascots trying out humorous moves that they will use at upcoming football games.

The Alabama House passed a bill Tuesday night saying no public or private schools has to accept a student transferring from a failing public school under the new Alabama Accountability Act.

The bill by Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook passed 62-40 and now goes to the Senate. Proponents said the bill keeps some systems from being overrun with transfers they can't afford. Opponents said it gives affluent suburban school systems a reason to reject transfers from inner-city schools.