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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

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Lawmakers consider changes to Maine's Clean Election law, Florida offers a big no comment over "arranged" migrant flights to California, and the Global Fragility Act turns U.S. peacekeeping on its head.

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A bipartisan effort aims to preserve AM radio, the Human Rights Campaign declares a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, and the Atlanta City Council approves funding for a controversial police training center.

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Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Some Ohio Kids Being Denied Lunch When They Can’t Pay

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Friday, March 24, 2023   

School nutrition providers told Ohio lawmakers this week they're tired of hounding parents for school lunch money when their child's account accrues debt.

Each week, said Daryn Guarino, director of food and nutrition at the Alexander Local School District, he reminds around 250 families that have begun to accumulate lunch debt. That's more than one-third of the school's population.

"I'm not trying to be a debt collector," he said. "I need to not hit the hard stop, because at that point, I'm going to have to look at this child and tell them they can't eat today. And it's heartwrenching to see it. And it's even worse to know that it's coming."

According to the group Hunger Free Schools Ohio, it would cost the state less than $2 per child per day to provide free meals to all students in the state. One in six children - and as many as one in four in some counties - live in households that face hunger.

COVID-era federal policies provided universal free meals to kids. Guarino said the end of those polices, combined with inflation and rising living costs, have forced more families to leave their kids' school lunch accounts in the red.

"It causes so much stress among our staff that, a lot of the times, they'll start reaching into their own pockets," he said.

The Children's Defense Fund reported that school lunch debt has more than doubled this year from pre-pandemic levels.


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