- People in Wisconsin are calling on the city’s school board to reverse its decision to opt-out of a federal meal program offering free food to students regardless of income.
- The Wisconsin Democratic Party called the board’s decision “a vile attack on our children,” particularly children of color.
- “The Waukesha School Board’s decision isn’t just cruel, its an attempt to punish children from families with lower incomes who are disproportionately Black and brown,” lamented Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin state treasurer.
“Hundreds of families and educators in Waukesha, Wisconsin are calling on the city’s school board to reverse a decision it made earlier this year to opt out of a federal meal program that was introduced at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, offering free food to students regardless of income.
As the Washington Post reported Friday, Waukesha is the only school district in the state to reject funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Seamless Summer Option program, which was praised by economists and beneficiaries alike for destigmatizing the need for public assistance and eliminating red tape.
“The Waukesha School Board’s decision isn’t just cruel, it’s an attempt to punish children from families with lower incomes who are disproportionately Black and brown.”
—Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin state treasurer
In previous years the district has participated in the National School Lunch Program, which offers free and reduced-price meals to students depending on their families’ income and requires parents or guardians to fill out applications for approval. During the 2018-2019 school year, 36% of Waukesha’s 14,000 students qualified for the program. Students who live below the poverty line in the city are disproportionately Black and Latino.
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