With students across western Kentucky set to return to school in a few weeks, a bill in congress could change rules for school lunches. Among them: higher eligibility standards and required reviews of nutritional guidelines.
“There’s always something new,” says Dominique Caminos of Owensboro, who knows the cost of raising, and feeding a child.
”A weekend, can easily be $20, even with sandwiches, sandwich meat, because you’re going to have to do that every day,” she says.
A bill written by Indiana Rep. Todd Rotika would change a school district’s ability to provide free or reduced meals. One change: requiring 60% of students in a district to be eligible for free or reduced cost meals before the rest can get the same deal. That’s up from 40%. The bill also requires the USDA to review nutritional standards every three years. Supporters say it would give schools more flexibility and expand access.
Ohio County School Superintendent Scott Lewis says if the bill passes, they would have to review their spending for free lunches, and that could mean several hundred students in his district could be missing out on a free lunch.
“That can make a huge difference in a household if you have to worry about feeding your kids breakfast and lunch,” says Caminos. “if you’re a single parent, not making a lot of income, it can be very stressful.”
Daviess County Public schools Food Service Director Lisa Sims says that change won’t affect her district, but adds the introduction of block grants to pay for meals could make it financially riskier.
“If we ever have issues with our program, we could go in the red real easy. and if we go in the red, the district has to make up for it,” she says.
Summary of bill can be found here.
Link source: House Committee on Education and The Workforce Committee