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Published: Tuesday, 7/19/2005

700 requests processed for free TPS uniforms

Toledo Public Schools has processed nearly 700 applications for free school uniforms so far this summer, an official with the district said yesterday.

The school district enacted its mandatory uniform policy for elementary schools at the start of the last school year. Officials boasted that compliance was nearly 100 percent and have insisted that the policy had a positive effect on behavior.

Sheila Austin, the district's chief of staff, said parents can reapply for free uniforms each year. Lucas County Jobs and Family Services is providing up to $600,000 for the uniforms.

Nearly 6,000 families were approved for free uniforms last year. The program extends to families who have a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. A family of four falls below the poverty level if the annual household income is less than $18,850.

Families qualify if they have a current Medicaid card or WIC card or receive publicly funded child care from Lucas County, food stamps, or Ohio Works First benefits.

Officials said four sets of uniforms cost about $120 and would be adequate for an entire school year.

Uniforms were mandatory only for elementary school children last school year, but the requirement is being expanded to include junior high this year and high school the next year.

In elementary school, colors are limited to white, light blue, dark blue, and yellow for tops and dark blue, navy, khaki, and tan for bottoms. Girls must wear a blouse or polo shirt with a collar, or a turtleneck and a skirt, jumper, slacks, knee-length shorts, or a skirt.

Boys are required to wear a dress shirt, turtleneck, or a polo or oxford button-down shirt with a collar, and pants or knee-length shorts. The policy requires solid colors for tops, bottoms, and sweaters or vests.

In junior high school, children also may wear maroon tops.

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