Governor Baker Signs Legislation Tackling Child Hunger


HYANNIS – Governor Charlie Baker recently joined lawmakers and state officials to sign a student nutrition act ensuring more students have access to free meals at school.

“An Act Promoting Student Nutrition” or Bill.H3999 requires that schools or districts with a majority of students meeting low-income criteria provide universal free breakfast and lunch and prohibits schools from using punitive measures against students with meal debt.

“This legislation is another way we can ensure all children in the Commonwealth have access to healthy meals when they are in school,” said Baker.

“We are thankful to our partners in the legislature for their leadership on this important issue so that no child goes hungry and can focus on their learning and education,” he added.

The legislation requires school districts participating in the national school lunch program to maximize federal resources for families while requiring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education assists districts in improving direct certification for its students, allowing school districts to certify children for free or low-cost meals for up to four consecutive school years.

For students with unpaid meal debt, school districts will be required to determine whether a student with unpaid meal debts is eligible for free or low cost meals within 30 days of debt notification, during which time the student will still have access to meals.

School employees will be prohibited from publicly identifying a student with meal debt in the checkout process or otherwise singling out students with negative meal balances.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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