Giving Compass’ Take:
• Jonathan Butcher argues that the Community Eligibility Provision for free school lunch is helping too many students and that a more effective program would focus on low-income students.
• Do you agree with this assessment? What is the best way to ensure that all students who need food are fed?
In 2018, U.S. taxpayers spent $17 billion on these two federal school lunch programs combined. Yet for decades, these programs have been plagued by misspending and improper payments (services provided to ineligible children), as the Government Accountability Office’s report explains.
Over the last four years, these programs have had improper payment rates of 16% and 23%, respectively.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, the National School Lunch Program lost nearly $800 million owing to improper payments in fiscal year 2018, while the School Breakfast Program lost $300 million. The Office of Management and Budget calls these programs “high-priority” programs because of the misspending.
In 2010, Congress and the Obama administration expanded school meal programs through a provision in the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act called the “Community Eligibility Provision.”
As Heritage Foundation research explains, this provision allows schools, districts, and even groups of schools located in the same area where 40% of student enrollment is eligible for federal assistance (such a
Earlier this year, our research found that more middle- and upper-income students have taken advantage of free meals since lawmakers enacted the Community Eligibility Provision. Lawmakers made more students from upper-income households eligible for an error-prone federal program, defying both the program’s original purpose and any claim to fiscal responsibility.
Congress and the White House should eliminate this provision and focus resources on helping children in need, as recommended in Heritage’s “Blueprint for Balance.”
s food stamps) to offer free meals to all students.
Read the full article about the Community Eligibility Provision for free school lunch by Jonathan Butcher at The Heritage Foundation.
Interested in learning more about K-12 Education? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to K-12 Education.
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If you are interested in K-12 Education, please see these relevant Issue Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects where you can get involved.