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PNS Daily Newscast - November 12, 2018 


The election recount spotlight is on Florida, with three hotly contested races. Also on the Monday rundown: Can women sustain their record election gains? And a bill in Congress would help fund preservation of historic sites.

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Popular School Food Program Under Threat

The Community Eligibility Provision, a program that makes it easier for low-income students to get free breakfast and lunch at school, is under threat in Congress. (God's Pantry Food Banks)
The Community Eligibility Provision, a program that makes it easier for low-income students to get free breakfast and lunch at school, is under threat in Congress. (God's Pantry Food Banks)
July 18, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A bill in Congress could cut a program Kentucky has used to dramatically increase the number of students eating breakfast and lunch at school.

The Community Eligibility Provision lets schools in high poverty areas make meals available to all students, without individual eligibility paperwork.

Supporters say it means more poor children eat, which leads to better test scores and fewer discipline problems.

But Jessie Hewins, a senior child nutrition analyst with the
Food Research and Action Center, says House Bill 5003 would impact more than 7,000 schools and 3.4 million students nationwide.

Kentucky would feel the effects if the legislation becomes law.

"There would be about 343 schools that would be impacted by the House proposal with about 190,000 students attending those schools," she points out.

The bill's sponsor argues that the Community Eligibility Provision is too generous now, and the government could save money by narrowing it.

The program's supporters counter that much of the savings would be eaten up by the additional paperwork.

According to Hewins, the program has had a lot of success in Appalachia and she doesn't think it should be rolled back.

"Both Kentucky and West Virginia were early adopters of the program, and both have had really strong leadership to implement the program and roll it out to as many schools as possible,” she points out. “So, they would stand to lose a lot under this provision."

The Community Eligibility Provision has only been in place since the 2014-15 school year, but has spread very quickly and is popular both with parents and educators.

Zoe Neuberger, a senior policy analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says the Senate version of the bill doesn't have the same provision.

"The Senate bill does not include the change to Community Eligibility, and we know that the administration doesn't support that change, either," she states.



Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY