Board of Education Vice President, Sarah Messing, joined a contingent of local school board members through the OCSBA (Orange County School Board Association) who went to Albany on Monday, January 9th to lobby legislators to support Universal Free School Meals for all children.
Messing reported at the January 9th Board of Education meeting held on Monday evening that the contingent met with Senator James Skoufis, newly inducted Assemblyman Brian Maher (formerly the Town of Montgomery supervisor) Assemblywoman Aileen Gunter and Senator Robert Roloson. She reported that they were all very receptive and supportive of the idea of Universal Free School Meals.
Messing reported that it is hoped that Governor Hochul State of the State address on Tuesday, January 10th will include instituting free meals for all school children. It would mean that the state would pick up the cost of the meals not only funded by the federal government as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic until June 2022.
Valley Central’s School Food Director, Eleanore Mills, reported this fall to the BOE that the number of meals served during the time the meals were free was significantly greater than pre-pandemic. School Business Official, Brad Conklin reported later in the January 9th meeting that the internal audit of the cafeteria program is nearly complete and that VC has been recognized as having an excellent program.
“Having free school meals for all kids is just good common sense. We have the research the shows the connection between learning and nutrition, we have the experience of providing free meals and such a program would save time on administrative tasks of keeping track of student accounts and payments and let our staff focus more on providing nutritious and inviting meals to all of our children daily,” stated Sarah Messing.
For more information: https://cnycentral.com/news/local/advocates-hold-rally-on-ny-capitol-steps-lobbying-for-free-school-meals-for-all-students