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Advocates say push for free meals in Vermont schools taking too long

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 7:09 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The push for universal meals in Vermont schools continues in the Legislature this year.

A bill, S.100, would provide free breakfast and lunch, regardless of a family’s financial situation.

It passed the Senate last year and is currently in the hands of the House Education Committee.

Universal meals have been in place during the pandemic thanks to a USDA waiver.

Advocates say it’s proof that it works and that lawmakers need to pass the bill soon that would take effect for the next school year.

“It’s going to be difficult to families to adjust and readjust. I think it’s, I don’t think families are ready. We are just maybe seeing an exit of the COVID pandemic and we are very much barely entering a recovery stage. Now is not the time to go backward on this important work,” said Scott Faye, the president of the School Nutrition Association of Vermont.

Right now as the bill is written, even if it’s passed and the governor signs it, universal meals might not be implemented across the state until potentially 2026 or 2027. That’s because a task force would be created to figure out how to do that.

Advocates hope lawmakers change that.

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