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Approximately 30,000 more Oregon school children could have access to free school lunches starting with the 2015-16 school year under a new state budget provision, according to The Oregonian.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed recently House Bill 5017, an appropriations bill that provides $2.4 million to fund a mandate that school districts provide free lunches to students who are eligible for reduced-price lunches under U.S. Department of Agriculture income eligibility guidelines.
To put it simply, the bill makes school lunch free for all students in need, not just those that qualify.
For 2015-16, a family of four will qualify for reduced-price lunch if their annual household income is less than $44,862, or 185 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The same family will qualify for free lunch if their annual household income is less than $31,525, or 130 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
The state expects about a 9.6 percent increase in students participating in the lunch program once this goes into effect. About 292,000 Oregon students are participating in the free and reduced-lunch program, according to numbers provided to the House Committee on Education.
This is one way to ensure students across Oregon receive a healthy lunch no matter who they are.
Read more in The Oregonian.