Michigan students could see free breakfast, lunch under new proposal

A proposed state-wide program could provide free breakfast and lunch for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:21 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With Michigan having had a big surplus in the state budget this year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed free breakfast and lunch for all Michigan students as part of a wider plan to support schools.

Related: Gov. Whitmer announces ‘largest tax break for working families’

Lunch is the highlight of many students’ days, but for others, it may be the hour they dread the most. According to educators, providing breakfast and lunch to students improved their focus and success in the classroom.

“We see them not focusing, we see them worried about not eating. and so what’s on their mind,” said Middle School dean Ernest Conerly.

In a budget recommendation from Whitmer, Michigan students could get free breakfast and lunch, regardless of their socio-economic status. The state estimated it needs about $160 million from the School Aid Fund to start the program.

The Michigan Education Association said it will not only help students but educators too.

“This is going to make it so school staff - who are already overworked, and we have an educator shortage in our state - it’s going to make it so that school staff can focus on more academic needs,” said Thomas Morgan with the Michigan Education Association.

Conerly said breakfast and lunch are essential for children to remain focused in the classroom.

“If they’re skipping lunch, then we know the second half of the day is gone too because then their brain is still on that fast,” Conerly said. “So not having breakfast and then not having lunch keeps your body in that fast. It keeps your brain absent of any nutrient it may need to get you woke and energized.”

The free lunch program during the COVID pandemic ended before the last school year, but this new proposal is expected to help children succeed and save families $850 per year.

You can find more information on Michigan’s current school nutrition programs here.

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