9 States Supporting School Meals For All

Since becoming the first state to implement School Meals for All, California celebrates the continued success of ensuring kids have the nourishment they need to thrive in the classroom. 8 additional states have followed suit and enacted policy changes that support child nutrition in various capacities.

Colorado has begun with an optional policy for public schools to provide free breakfasts/lunches. They’ve proven that there are creative ways to see the passage of such legislation through a ballot initative.  Schools that participate will be reimbursed for the full cost of the meals provided.

Illinois recently passed the Healthy School Meals for All Program to ensure public students receive free school meals. The State Board of Education is set to serve as the regulatory body in the implementation phase of the new policy.

Michigan is allocating up to $160 million in state funds to be used for free lunch and breakfast within all public schools. Earlier this year in July, Governor Gretchen Whitmer included and additional $25 million in funding for the program when she signed the state budget.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently signed into law a bill that will provide free breakfast and lunch to students at schools that decide to participate. Schools must be in the USDA’s National School Lunch Program to receive reimbursements.

Maine recently passed a bill that directs the Maine Department of Education to maximize federal reimbursements to provide free school lunches and breakfasts.

Massachusetts made free school meals permanent through a new law that is funded by a 4% tax on the wealthiest residents in August 2023.

New Mexico became the fifth state to establish universal free school meals as well as increased funding to improve school kitchen infrastructure.

Vermont took a creative approach to achieve free school meals by instituting a 3 cent increase on the property tax rate.