Connecticut Legislature postpones emergency vote to extend free school lunches for school year
The Connecticut Legislature postponed an emergency vote to extend free school lunches for the rest of the school year.
Lawmakers were set to meet with Gov. Ned Lamont Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue.
The decision could impact thousands of students across the state.
Since Dec. 1, the no-cost meals were halted for the first time since 2020.
The meals were initially covered under federal COVID waivers and after those ran out, the state provided $30 million in funding to keep the program going.
Now with that money running out, some parents are left scrambling.
The group End Hunger Connecticut says it is critical to feed students, whether their families struggle financially or not.
"Feeding kids is the foundation to education. Kids aren't going to do well if they're hungry and they're going to be disrupted in class. They're not going to learn, but also, we don't ask kids to pay for their lockers or pay for their bus. So, school meals really needs to be a consistent and integral part of education in Connecticut," said Lucy Nolan, policy director at End Hunger Connecticut.
Rich Deecken, a social studies teacher in Bridgeport, says all students in their district already qualify to free meals through a federal program, but can't imagine it ever being cut.
"I've seen, without the free lunch program, a lot of these students are not going to get food they're not going to know where the next meal is coming from," said Deeckan.
Extending free meals until the end of this school year would cost anywhere between $30 and $50 million.