As child nutrition waivers near expiration, 2 states take steps to provide universal free meals for next school year

Students in Massachusetts and Vermont could continue to receive free meals for another year.
Students eating in the school cafeteria.
Photo: Shutterstock

Massachusetts and Vermont are considering using state funding to extend universal free meals for students for the upcoming school year.

In Massachusetts, state lawmakers have included $110 million dollars in the state’s fiscal 2023 budget to extend free school meals through the summer of 2023. The measure would go into effect if the budget passes the senate and is then signed by the governor.

Over in Vermont, S.100 would allot $29 million from the state’s education fund to continue to offer the free meals for an additional school year.

School districts throughout the country have been able to provide free meals to all students since the start of the pandemic through a series of waivers issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. The waivers are set to expire at the end of June and Congress has yet to provide any funding to extend them further.

School nutrition professionals worry that the absence of the waivers will cause foodservice programs to financially suffer and be unable to adequately feed students this summer and upcoming school year. 



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