Senior Policy Analyst
A child nutrition reauthorization bill that Rep. Todd Rokita, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, introduced yesterday would severely restrict schools’ eligibility for community eligibility — an option within the national school lunch and breakfast programs allowing high-poverty schools to provide meals at no charge to all students.
If Chairman Rokita’s bill becomes law, 7,022 schools now using community eligibility to simplify their meal programs and improve low-income students’ access to meals would have to reinstate applications and return to monitoring eligibility in the lunch line within two years, as we’ve explained. These schools serve nearly 3.4 million students. Another 11,647 schools that qualify for community eligibility but have not yet adopted it would lose eligibility.
The bill would have an especially profound impact in states with a high community eligibility take-up rate. More than one-third of the schools that would be affected are in just five states: Kentucky, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.
Our recent analysis of this proposal includes a table with the number of schools that the bill would affect. You can filter this spreadsheet by state or school district to find a list of affected schools in your area.