House Bill 172 addresses meal programs at Missouri public schools

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – A bill is making its way through the state senate in an effort to extend free school meals to public school students.

“I want to provide them some relief, especially in a time with budget surplus here in the state of Missouri,” said Missouri State Representative Brian Seitz.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, children who attended class in the state of Missouri could eat school meals for free.

Now, Seitz says the free school meal program should continue.

“If we could do it during a pandemic, then we can do the exact same thing during a time of economic prosperity,” he said.

Seitz says a big advantage of free meals is research and studies show that test scores are improved when students are given a nutritious breakfast and lunch.

“And if we can increase test scores here in the state of Missouri, I want to see that done.  If it takes feeding the children, we can do that,” Seitz said.

He says currently the bill has a lot of traction in the state senate and he’s doing all he can to help push it through.

Added Seitz: “We are looking at ways to pay for this.  Right now, I see a state-federal partnership. Already, some school districts are receiving sometimes 100 percent free and-or reduced lunches.”

Seitz is currently meeting with state representatives from the department of education and the speaker of the house to continue his efforts to push the bill through.

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