A bill to provide more free school lunches to Minnesota students passed a key hurdle in the House today, when members of the Education Finance Committee approved it.
About 60,000 students qualify for lunches at a reduced price of 40 cents apiece. The bill sponsored by state Rep. Yvonne Selcer, DFL-Minnetonka, would cover that cost for families.
Selcer, said the bill covers the cost of those meals, which can be a burden on low income families who make too much to qualify for free lunches.
"Today we have the opportunity to help our working poor by ensuring that their children get at least two nutritious meals during the school day," she said. "Some children in Minnesota are not."
The bill now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee. In his supplemental budget released this morning, Gov. Mark Dayton proposed using $3.5 million dollars of the state's $1.2 billion dollar surplus to pay for reduced price lunches.
School lunches would help low-income families who make too much to qualify for free meals, said Elaine Keefe, a lobbyist for the Minnesota School Nutrition Association.
"For a relatively small cost of $3.5 million a year, you can lift a real burden from working families and insure their children have daily access to a healthy school meal," she said.