COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – New data from the Ohio Department of Education shows a slight increase in the amount of students who are receiving free or reduced price lunches.

The figure remains around 40 percent, with about 2,400 more students receiving taxpayer funded school meals than they were last school year.

The portion of students on reduced lunch programs has routinely served as a key poverty indicator. Officials say data over the past five years shows that the economy still hasn’t returned to pre-recession levels.