Aug 1, 2023 - Politics

School meals in Mass. will remain free next school year

Photo: Daniel Leal via Getty Images

All Massachusetts public school students will continue to have access to free school meals this year.

  • It's welcome news to some districts that held off on hiring cafeteria workers and ordering food for fear state funding wouldn't come through.

Driving the news: Lawmakers on Beacon Hill committed $172 million to continue a pandemic-era program to provide K-12 students with meals free of charge.

  • The budget agreement passed by the House and Senate yesterday came one month late.

Why it matters: Students can get up to half of their daily nutrition from school meals, according to advocacy group Project Bread.

  • The group says more needy students will take advantage of free meals if the social stigma around payments and subsidies is removed from students' cafeteria experience.

What's next: Gov. Maura Healey is expected to sign the budget into law, which will free up the funds for districts just in time as schools return in the coming weeks.

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