MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton says it is time to make sure no child in Minnesota goes hungry at school. This comes almost six months after a report revealed 46 Minnesota school districts had policies denying some children lunch, if they couldn’t pay for it.
After an upsetting report from mid-Minnesota legal aid in January revealed hundreds of students could potentially be turned away at the lunch line, lawmakers decided to take action.
Back then, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said she didn’t know the problem was so extensive and vowed to fix it.
She and Dayton served up breakfast Wednesday morning to a group of a couple hundred schoolchildren at Morris Bye Elementary in Coon Rapids, Minn.
Students at this Anoka-Hennepin School already get free breakfast and Dayton says that is the goal for every school.
During the legislative session, he signed a bill giving $4 million to school meals — that gives 125,000 students access to school breakfast and lunch, and guarantees all kindergarteners breakfast for next school year.
When questioned if children were still being denied breakfast or lunch in some districts, Cassellius said she wasn’t sure.
“Well, I have to know means to know, whether it is or isn’t but I know when I talk to superintendents personally, they say that they’re making sure that all kids are getting a nutritious breakfast and lunch, that need it,” Cassellius said.
Next year, lawmakers plan to ask for millions more to guarantee meals to all K-5 children.
As for the summer, parents with children needing to get healthy meals should call their district for information on any programs to help.
Republican Kurt Zellers, who, along with Dayton is also running for governor, released a statement Wednesday saying this problem should have been solved years ago and that Dayton is pandering before the election.
Dayton responded, saying Zellers and other lawmakers could have worked harder to pass it in the past.
The most important thing he says, is moving forward to get the money to make sure all children have enough to eat.