N.C. Bill would provide free lunches to all students in public schools
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - School lunches could become free for students across the state in public schools as well as charter schools thanks to a bill in the N.C. General Assembly submitted May, 26. The bill, the Child Care Act, addresses several issues including additional tax credits for parents for childcare and other expenses.
Part IV of the bill, titled ‘Provide lunch to students in public school units at no cost to students’, would do just that. The responsibility of implementing and overseeing the program falls on the Department of Public Instruction.
“The Department of Public Instruction shall allocate sufficient funds to public school units to provide lunch to every student who elects to receive lunch at no cost to the student. These funds shall supplement and not supplant any federal funds provided for the same services,” the bill reads, in part.
The language of the bill provides students the option to receive free meals; it would not be a requirement as written.
Charter schools are also included in the the bill; these students would also have the option to receive free meals.
The United States Department of Agriculture provided free meals to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and extended that until June of 2022.
Currently, families have to meet a certain income threshold to receive free lunches for students under federal guidelines.
A family of four would be eligible for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program for North Carolina if they make less than $51,338 annually. Families can use the calculator provided on the program’s website to determine what income they would have to make in order to qualify for reduced or free meals.
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