SILVER CREEK – An increase in the number of students who are homeless and a steady increase in students from families who qualify for free and reduced-priced meals at Silver Creek Central School provided food for thought at the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Wednesday.

Board members learned that the district has about 17 students who are classified as homeless.

Lynn Gowan reported on the numbers during a presentation to the board on federal grant opportunities and funding. Gowan, who was the elementary principal and is now in charge of special education, said the number of students is largely due to families who are transient and finding housing with family or friends. She said there is only one minor child who is considered homeless.

Gowan said that 13 years ago, when she started as principal, only about 15 percent of the student population qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. Now, she said, it is near the 50 percent mark. She said she sees families struggling to maintain housing and jobs in the district.

Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich said he knows that staff at the school is trying to help the local food pantry fill its shelves this season.

Anna Frederickson, a resident of the district, said the food pantry has increased its hours to help with demand.

In other matters, the board recognized the efforts of Stephaney Lysek and Cassandra Nahreski as students of the month; approved ski school chaperones; and accepted the resignation of Marcy Sweetman as dean of students and mentor coordinator.

This was the last regular meeting of the board for this year. It meets next at 7 p.m. Jan. 9. Before the meeting, at 6, there will be a budget presentation on athletics. The focus will be the impact of the budget on athletics and technology.