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Colorado voters will decide to expand free school lunches

Colorado voters will decide to expand free school lunches

In November of this year, Colorado voters will decide whether to cover the cost of school meals for all students.

All Colorado students have had access to a free lunch for the past two years thanks to federal pandemic-related denials that expire this summer. During this time, many school districts reported more students eating lunch, sometimes 40% more than before the pandemic.

Lawmakers have sent voters a measure that will bring in an additional $ 101 million a year by limiting tax deductions for high-income people. These new public funds will complement the additional federal dollars that schools can qualify for by participating in the community participation program. Instead of relying on families filling out applications for subsidized lunches, school districts could use the right to participate in programs such as Medicaid and food stamps to count children in poverty and get more food .

In addition to reimbursing school meals, participating school districts can also receive money to buy healthy local food, raise salaries for catering workers, upgrade equipment and train workers to cook healthy food.

This proposal provides for the creation of a program “Healthy school food for all.” House Act 1414 passed both chambers with the support of the two parties, although many Republicans voted against. By forcing lawmakers to put this measure on the ballot, supporters are saving the time and money they would have spent collecting signatures.

However, there will be a year left before the start of the program. Schools will not have access to extra money for the 2022-23 school year. The event was originally sponsored by Democrats supported the bill it would have used public money to fill that gap, but it stalled due to concerns about current spending.

Proponents of the initiative, such as Hunger Free Colorado, say offering a free lunch to all students reduces stigma and embarrassment and encourages participation, while depriving families deprived of money of another expense.

Some Republican lawmakers have objected to asking a small percentage of taxpayers to pay for what families have to give and what many parents can afford.

The proposal will limit income tax deductions for taxpayers earning $ 300,000 or more. Individuals will be limited to $ 12,000 and participants in joint documents will be limited to $ 16,000.

The measure does not require the governor’s signature to appear on the ballot. The said measure requires only a simple majority to become law.

Head of the Bureau Eric Meltzer covers education policy and policies and oversees education coverage at Chalkbeat Colorado. Contact Erica at emeltzer@chalkbeat.org.

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