SAUK RAPIDS (WJON News) -- The bill that will provide free school breakfast and lunch for all has passed the Minnesota Senate and needs one more vote from the House before it goes to the governor for his signature.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Superintendent Brad Bergstrom calls the bill a 'double-sided issue for superintendents across the state'.

He says on the one hand it will be good to know all students will have access to the meals.

Kids don't have to worry about whether they are going to get a meal.  As a school district, we don't have to have conversations with families who are behind on paying for the lunches.

However, on the other hand, Bergstrom says there will be no incentive to get families to fill out the Educational Benefits form.

As part of our revenue source which we use to support students who are behind in their grade level in reading and math, those dollars are linked to families that fill out those educational forms.

Besides free and reduced meals, districts use those forms for the fees they charge and for State High School League classification.

The way the bill is written, the federal government would still pay for free meals for families who qualify and then the state picks up the tab for the families that don't qualify for the federal program.

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Bergstrom says the language in the bill will hold districts harmless for just the next school year.

 

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