It is with great distress to read the article ("School air conditioning OK'd," Feb. 27) about the vice president of the Decatur school board, Beth Nolan, objecting to the application to provide free breakfasts and free lunches to all Decatur Public School students because it doesn’t portray a good image of the district.

How troubling that she considers the district image of far more importance than the welfare of the students she claims to represent and protect.

She apparently is unaware of the data for the district. If so, then why is she on the school board? According to the website Illinoisreportcard.com, the poverty rate for District 61 as released for 2017-2018 year (the most current available), was at 66.2 percent whereas the state was a still-dismal 49.4 percent. Almost half of the students in the state are considered low income and two-thirds of the students in the district are. Many of our schools have even higher individual poverty rates. Scary facts for a very real problem: many children are coming to school hungry.

Yet acting like this isn’t a problem apparently is better as based on her comments. Does this mean there are other things that are glossed over to make sure the image of the district is protected instead of truly meeting student needs?

Debbie Roberts, Decatur

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