NSEA Favored Legislation to Remove Reduced Lunch Co-Pay

NSEA policy has long-supported feeding hungry children, and the issue was addressed again this year before the Education Committee of the Nebraska Legislature.

In January, NSEA President Jenni Benson testified in favor of LB771, which would create the Child Hunger and Workforce Readiness Act. LB771 is needed, said Benson, because more Nebraskans suffer from food insecurity today than ever before. LB771’s provisions would remove the co-pay those families must currently pay for reduced-price breakfasts and lunches.

Benson told the committee that her 30 years in education taught her one thing: that a child who is hungry cannot learn; a child who has not eaten cannot focus on a math program or a spelling word.

“That child is wondering where and when the next meal might arrive; is fighting off pangs of hunger; is wondering ‘why me?’” said Benson.

Benson said there are other benefits to school meals, as well.

“In addition to enhancing student achievement, there is growing evidence that well-fed students are better behaved, have better attendance records, are generally healthier and have fewer discipline problems,” said Benson.

The measure was introduced by Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, but did not advance from committee.