HARTFORD, Conn. — A bill that would bring back free school lunches for students passed unanimously in both the state House and Senate, and now heads to Gov. Ned Lamont's desk for a signature.
The funding for free school lunches is part of a bigger bill [No. 6671] to allocate funds to numerous state programs for the remaining half of the fiscal year, ending June 30, 2023.
Lamont said he intends to sign the bill, and once that happens, the free school lunches would immediately go into effect through the end of the academic year.
“The free school meals program that began at the beginning of the pandemic has helped ensure that thousands of young children have access to nutritious food, which is an essential component of learning, and has provided a financial break for many middle-class families," Lamont said in a statement. He added, "Funding it for the remainder of this school year just makes sense and I applaud everyone for coming together to get this approved."
Any possible plans to approve free school lunch funding into this summer and the next school year have not been made clear. Lamont shared his biennial budget proposal earlier this week with legislators but future funding for free school lunches for fiscal years 2024-2025 was not mentioned at the time.
During the pandemic, federal funding brought free school lunches to students nationwide, and it came to an end in November 2022. Since then, there had been a local push to bring free school lunches back to the cafeteria.
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