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School begins with free meals for some but not all

Sep 06, 2023 12:41 am

Kate Lisa reports for New York State of Politics that with classes starting this week there are more free meals for students than ever in New York, but some advocates want universal free school meals. The current state budget includes $134 million for New York schools to subsidize expiring federal pandemic aid and provide more students free breakfast and lunches. Kyle Belakopitsky, executive director of the state Congress of Parents and Teachers, said, "We're still not fully state funded.... We really, really need a congressional and [USDA] solution on this." Currently districts with at least 40 percent of its student population certified for free or reduced-price meals verified through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps data get extra funding, but a new USDA rule proposed this spring would lower the threshold to 25 percent. But New York officials don't know when the new rules will take effect. Jessica Pino-Goodspeed, manager of school meal policy engagement with Hunger Solutions New York, said, "We had incredible support in the Legislature across the aisle, both in the Senate and Assembly, so we're really optimistic this year that we can get the rest of this done to make sure that every kid in your state has access to a free meal." Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

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