Governor Cuomo’s plan to make sure no student goes hungry is going to be implemented in some school districts this year.
That plan was unveiled as the 15th proposal of the 2018 State of the State last year.
It’s a comprehensive program to provide students of all ages, backgrounds and financial situations access to healthy, locally-sourced meals from kindergarten through college.
The Greece Central School District said starting in September, they will begin implementing the program. A spokesperson told News 8:
“We changed our Board Policy related to lunch loans this year. Beginning in September, no student will be denied a meal – or meal choice – because of an outstanding lunch loan. Additionally, for the first time this year, Greece will be taking advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision, making it possible for students at 4 qualifying elementary schools (English Village, Lakeshore, Longridge, and West Ridge) to get free breakfast and lunch daily regardless of household income. As a result, we expect 2,000 students to eat for free every day this year.”
Some schools, like the Gates Chili School District, said they implemented the Governor’s policy a year ago after hearing of his plans.
“We’re always struggling with wanting to make sure every child is not leaving school hungry,” Superintendent Kimberle Ward said.
Ward said in the past, they never turned a child away who didn’t have money. They simply allowed those who didn’t have the funds to pick another option, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
This plan changed that.
“Now they will choose what they want, just like every other child, whether they have the funds or not for that meal.”
She said as part of that plan, they started to reconsider what to do with that debt left over from years of unpaid lunches.
“We’ve gone from having $2500 in debt to about $700 now and I think the reason is we have a team together that works with the parents.”
However, Governor Cuomo’s mandate is unfunded and Ward said that’s a concern.
“We do worry about that debt and if it will ge larger and larger each year. Hopefully we get some assistance from the state legislature.”
The Governor’s ‘No Student Goes Hungry’ Program also includes investments to expand the Farm to School program and policy changes to ensure students in kindergarten through college receive access to farm-fresh foods in a quality learning environment.