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State representatives make free school meals announcement at NSCSD

Senator John Mannion and Assemblymember Al Stirpe visited the North Syracuse Central School District on Thursday, May 4 to make an important announcement regarding the funding of school meals. They say $134 million is being set aside in the state budget to continue funding free school meals for students. 

“Free school meals may be the most consequential achievement in the state budget because it helps kids learn and succeed, covers the costs for school districts and local taxpayers, and it will have an immediate impact” said Senator John Mannion. 

The federal government funded free breakfast and lunch for all students regardless of household income since the early days of the pandemic, but it expired last June. Approximately 700,000 students in New York then lost access to free meals. 

Under the enacted 2023-2024 State Budget, schools that participate in the federal Community Eligibility Program (CEP) will be reimbursed by the state for the cost of all meals that are not currently covered by the federal government.

“It will help remove the financial burden many local families experience and lessen food insecurity in our state. Ultimately it is one less barrier for our students and one less concern for our families” said Assemblymember Al Stirpe. 
New funding in the state budget, combined with federal programs, will provide free breakfast and lunch to approximately 81 percent of the state’s student population. 
“Hunger is a real issue and it isn’t something that any student should have to worry about. School district superintendents have all spoken about the importance of offering nutritious, healthy foods to students in our schools so students can focus on their job - learning. I think I speak for all of us when I say thank you to our Senator Mannion and Assemblyman Stirpe for helping ensure our students get what they need to succeed” said Superintendent Dan Bowles.