Legislation is pending in Richmond that would make lunches free for all public school students. Last Thursday, the bill passed the Senate Education and Health Committee. Senate Bill 283 if it becomes law, would cost an estimated $346 million over the next two years. Some lawmakers say though, that while they don’t want any child to ever go hungry, they don’t believe that the commonwealth should just pay for breakfast and or lunch for every child IN the commonwealth… especially in some of the wealthiest counties in Virginia. Others say that they believe that just like textbooks, school buses, and desks, meals should be provided to children at school.
If it does pass, all public school divisions in Virginia would be required to make meals available for free to any student unless their parent had notified the school board to not do so. The state would reimburse schools for each meal, but obviously that money has to come from somewhere, and lawmakers say it would leave no choice but to raise taxes.