A change in community eligibility could restrict free and reduced price school meals, resulting in extra costs for struggling families in Indiana.
At Chapel Glen Elementary in Wayne Township, Doramma Stransberry is wondering how she will manage the added expense of school lunches for four children as a single parent. Currently, Chapel Glen provides free school lunch for all students, but would no longer qualify if legislation in the US House of Representatives passes.
Should the legislation pass, she would be spending $35 a week on lunches, or approximately $1,260 all year.
“Yeah, I make pretty good money, but I’m a single parent at the same time, so I’m by myself,” Stransberry said. “(School lunch) is too important to mess with.”
The bill proposed by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Indianapolis changes the rules about schools using federal money that provides free lunches for all students.
The current Community Eligibility Provision says that if 40 percent of a school or district qualifies for other government aid, all students receive free lunch. The proposal raises the CEP threshold to 60 percent.
“(CEP) has provided some help to schools administering these programs, but it has also allowed taxpayer dollars to subsidize students who are not eligible for free school meals,” Rokita said. “That’s something Congress has tried to avoid since these programs were first created.”