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Universal free meals get go-ahead from Colorado voters

A majority voted in favor of Proposition FF, which would increase taxes for some Coloradans to fund the free meals and provide nutrition-related grants for schools.
students eating lunch
Photo: Shutterstock

Colorado voters had the chance to weigh in on several ballot measures at the polls on Tuesday, including one measure seeking to bring back universal free meals for students in the state.

According to unofficial election results updated Wednesday, 55% voted in favor of Proposition FF, which would increase state taxes by about $100 million yearly to provide free meals to all students attending public school.

These additional funds would be generated by increasing the taxable income of Coloradans making at least $300,000.

In addition to offering free meals to all students, Proposition FF would give grants for schools to purchase products grown or made in Colorado, to up wages for school nutrition workers and to create advisory committees made up of students and parents that can provide guidance to nutrition teams.  

Nearly 45% of Colorado voters rejected the proposition.

Multiple states have stepped in to implement universal free meals after federal waivers that enabled free school meals during the pandemic expired this past summer.

Massachusetts, Nevada and Vermont, for example, earmarked funding to keep universal free meals going for the current school year, while states such as North Carolina and Virginia have continued to offer free meals to students who qualify for reduced-price ones.

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