School lunch funding still under debate as NC lawmakers draw up state budget
As state lawmakers hammer out the final state budget, advocates for students are wondering what they'll do to make school lunch more affordable.
The Senate's proposal included funding to offer free lunch to low-income students who otherwise qualify for lunch at a reduced price. The House proposal did not, but it had nearly $8-million earmarked to pay off debt students have accrued when they couldn't pay.
Morgan Wittman Gramann is with School Meals for All NC.
She said, "I think we need to be considering this conversation that we're having about elementary school students accruing debt, because they went and they tried to get food."
North Carolina students accrued more than $3-million in school lunch debt in the first semester of last school year. That was after federal COVID-19 relief funding that provided free lunches for all ended but with additional state funding to cover reduced price meals in place.
This fall, both benefits will be expired.