Vermont is on the way to becoming the first state in the nation to offer free breakfast, lunch and dinner to all students who qualify for meal programs.
Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca testified in front of the House Education Committee Tuesday. He says it will cost the state just less than $400,000 a year to extend free service to those who already receive reduced-cost meals.
Vilaseca says that's a small price to even the playing field in the classroom.
"I think that this has a lot of traction because we all know that ultimately the biggest challenge that kids have to learn in school quite often comes from the challenges outside of school. So, we're hoping this will be a small step in making lives easier for kids, as well as their families," Vilaseca said.
Vilaseca says 5,800 new children would qualify for three square meals if the Legislature ultimately approves funding. He says the proposal would not help feed low-income children during the summer months away from school.