Congress considers cutting back free student lunch program

If passed Bill 5003 would cut back on hundreds of Pennsylvania schools who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
If passed Bill 5003 would cut back on hundreds of Pennsylvania schools who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Congress is considering tighten the requirements for schools and students who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. If passed Bill 5003 would cut back on hundreds of Pennsylvania schools who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, if a school has a certain majority of kids living in poverty, every student gets a free lunch. The bill would change that so only some student’s receive the free meal while others don’t. Many worry this could leave some students to feel embarrassed that they need free food.

While the Food Research and Action Center in Washington D.C. is against the bill, Jim Buckheit with the Pennsylvania Association School Administration said “It’s a positive step forward. Schools are forced to provide food to the students, even if the students don’t want it. So it ends up being thrown in the trash which is not a good thing. This helps correct that and gives flexibility to the meals that schools will serve students.”

Buckheit said at the end of the day, they still want to make sure kids who need free or reduced food receive it. If the house version passes, negotiators will work to combine with a similar senate bill. That process could take weeks or months. For more information on this story watch the above video.


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