By Evie Blad
Child nutrition groups and Democrats in Congress say a proposal to offer blanket block grants to fund school meal programs in up to three states may threaten equity and lead to inadequate nutrition for low-income children who often rely on school food more than their wealthier peers.
The House plan to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, which sets rules for school meals, would offer the block grants in exchange for lifting federal meal program rules in participating states. In exchange, the states, which would have to apply to participate in the block grant option, would have to offer at least one “affordable” meal a day. Supporters of the plan, including sponsor Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), say it would allow for flexibility at the state and local level and allow for innovative use of federal funds to feed students.