Morningside Elementary School Principal Gloria Baker and her husband leave the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office after being booked and released on bond. The two are charged with falsifying documents to get their child into the free lunch program.
ALBANY ALBANY — Morningside Elementary Principal Gloria Baker and her husband John Baker have been booked and released from the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office downtown on charges of making false statements to obtain free school lunches for their child.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said that the Dougherty County School System Police Department took out three warrants on the Bakers Thursday, with each charge carrying a $1,000 bond.
Baker and her husband sped away from the courthouse in a brown Chevy Tahoe without making any comment to the media.
Gloria Baker is currently under a five-day paid suspension by the school system. Her salary as principal is $90,575 a year.
The free and reduced lunch program is designed to help children of low-income parents get a hot meal each day they are at school and is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The cost of lunch at schools in the Dougherty County School system is $1.50 per day, DCSS spokesman R.D. Harter said Thursday.
Baker has been with the school system since 1980 and was promoted to assistant principal in 1993. She was promoted to principal at Albany Middle School in 2004 and was assigned to Morningside earlier this year.
According to documents obtained by The Herald from the Dougherty County School System, roughly 81 percent of the 16,000 students who are in the Dougherty County School System are in a free or reduced-fee lunch program.
According to the application for free or reduced lunches, anyone who receives benefits from other USDA programs like SNAP or TANF are eligible for the program, as are most foster children. Children can get free meals if “your household’s gross income is within the free limits on the federal income guidelines.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the income eligibility guidelines adopted for July 1, 2011 state that for a household of three, the income cap is $24,089 per year before taxes.