North Carolina Senate Democrats are calling on their Republican counterparts to extend the free school lunch and breakfast program for students.
During the COVID pandemic, federal funds were allocated to provide free meals for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The funds for this popular and much-needed program expired on June 30. A measure to extend the program has passed the U.S. House but has been blocked by Republicans in the Senate.
School meals are currently funded only by federal funds and by the students themselves. No state funding is currently allocated to providing food for school kids. With the state sitting on a $6 billion surplus, it could easily afford to extend funding.
State Sen. Mujtbaba Mohammed, -Mecklenburg, was quoted saying “This is a basic common-sense policy, one that was initiated by the Trump administration at the beginning of the pandemic.” Sen. Mohammed went on to point out that when Congress fails to act, working families, kids and educators are “relying on our state leaders to act.”
The program will only cost around $93.4 million, and with the billions in surplus sitting in state coffers, it can easily afford the measure without raising any further revenue. As the cost of food goes up across the state, families of school children will significantly benefit if the state budget includes funding for school meals.