Free School Meals: Families are advised to fill application forms

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Many families across Minnesota are excited about the new free meals for all students, regardless of family income.

Minnesota became the third state to enact such a law after Governor Walz signed the bill at Webster Elementary in Minneapolis. He was joined by Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, legislators, students, and advocates. This new school program went into effect July 1st, and it is estimated to cost $200 million per year.

We spoke to Simone Zunich, the Executive Director of business services and finance at the Duluth school district on the benefits of this program.

“Children will learn better, they will want to come to school if they know they’re going to get a good healthy breakfast, and lunch. And I feel that it will help the students focus and help with their willingness to learn.”

Simons said the district has already fed hundreds of students under this program this last summer and they have been receiving positive feed backs from parents. She also added that this new law does not include the forgiveness of previous meal debt.

“It does not affect any outstanding debt. So, all previous outstanding debt will still need to be absorbed by the district.”

In other to help keep the funds needed for the feeding to continue coming in Simone say parents are advised to fill out some forms that will be included in their kids back-to-school packets and also available online.

“We still will ask the families to fill out an application for educational benefits. This helps us report who’s in our district and through that we get our funding. This is not just reimbursement for meals, it also affects other programs in the district.”

All students will still be eligible for the free meal with or without filling the benefits forms. She said filling it will help support the free meal scheme and strengthen funding for other school programs.