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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Some Ohio Kids Being Denied Lunch When They Can’t Pay

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Friday, March 24, 2023   

School nutrition providers told Ohio lawmakers this week they're tired of hounding parents for school lunch money when their child's account accrues debt.

Each week, said Daryn Guarino, director of food and nutrition at the Alexander Local School District, he reminds around 250 families that have begun to accumulate lunch debt. That's more than one-third of the school's population.

"I'm not trying to be a debt collector," he said. "I need to not hit the hard stop, because at that point, I'm going to have to look at this child and tell them they can't eat today. And it's heartwrenching to see it. And it's even worse to know that it's coming."

According to the group Hunger Free Schools Ohio, it would cost the state less than $2 per child per day to provide free meals to all students in the state. One in six children - and as many as one in four in some counties - live in households that face hunger.

COVID-era federal policies provided universal free meals to kids. Guarino said the end of those polices, combined with inflation and rising living costs, have forced more families to leave their kids' school lunch accounts in the red.

"It causes so much stress among our staff that, a lot of the times, they'll start reaching into their own pockets," he said.

The Children's Defense Fund reported that school lunch debt has more than doubled this year from pre-pandemic levels.


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