NCGA Education Oversight Committee – Child Nutrition

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee met on March 6, 2019. View the agenda here.

Child Nutrition

Dr. Lynn Harvey, RDN, Director of School Nutrition and District Operations, Department of Public Instruction (DPI) presented on overview of school nutrition programs in North Carolina. There are 8 different federally assisted programs administered by DPI. She noted that NC has the 7th largest school nutrition program in the country.

Dr. Harvey explained that 60% of students qualify for free or reduced priced meals in NC. She added that there is a continued concern for students of economically distressed households. Approximately one in five or 22.4% of the nation’s children live in food insecure households. According to the US Department of Agriculture, North Carolina has a food insecurity average above the US average.

Dr. Harvey informed the members that most of the funding for the school nutrition programs is derived from federal sources.

Dr. Harvey stressed that “Hunger has long lasting, devastating effects on the health, social and emotional well-being and academic success of students”.

Bladen County and Cumberland County provided a local perspective on their school lunch programs.

Legislative Note:

NCMS supported SB 487 – Student Meal Debt, sponsored by Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson). This bill would have required the State Board of Education to adopt a policy to ensure the uniform administration of unpaid meal charges. This policy would guarantee that students are not prevented from receiving nutritious meals because of an unpaid meal charge. The bill also appropriated $3 million in recurring funding to provide school lunches at no cost to students of all grade levels. This provision was also included in the budget. (The budget for this fiscal year has not passed.)


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