The Daily Kos reports that Todd Rokita (R-IN) introduced a bill to the House of Representatives on Friday aimed at making school lunch programs more “efficient.” The bill is H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016.
Daily Kos reporter Walter Einenkel notes that:
The law would raise the Community Eligibility Provision of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act from a 40 percent threshold up to a 60 percent threshold. What this means is that communities would need to have 60 percent of its population living at or below the poverty line in order for their school to be able to apply.
Rokita’s bill argues:
Under federal law, certain students are automatically enrolled for free meals without an application because they are at special risk for food insecurity and other consequences of living in poverty. They include: students in households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance program, or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), as well as students who are homeless, migrant, runaway, in Head Start, or in foster care.
Under community eligibility, these especially vulnerable students who enrolled without an application are known as “identified students.” A school (or group of schools) qualifies for community eligibility based on its Identified Student Percentage (ISP), which is determined by dividing its number of identified students by its total enrollment. Schools with an ISP of 40 percent or greater can adopt community eligibility.
The bill may not pass; however, voters can take actions now to reject it. Those voters, especially voters that live in areas currently receiving aid the bill targets — and that risk losing it if the bill passes, may want to protest by writing local and national representatives, attending local political meetings, and joining demonstrations.