State Superintendent Chris Reykdal is proposing to provide school meals at no cost to all Washington students.
Under a proposal announced this week by Reykdal, all of Washington’s 1.1 million students would receive school meals at no charge as part of their basic education.
“When students are hungry, their ability to learn and engage in school is impacted,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal. “Quality nutrition is a key component of student success and access to meals is an important part of being at school. We have to stop expecting families to foot the bill for resources and supports that are a normal part of the school day.”
OSPI announced that they will submit a proposal to the Governor and Legislature for consideration.
During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, waivers from the federal government allowed all students to eat free of charge.
Starting this school year, though, those waivers go away, and 330,000 students and their families will once again be required to pay for meals or submit meal applications to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meals.
Federal requirements govern student eligibility for discounted meals. Under current requirements, a family of four with a household income of $51,338 per year would pay around $2,330 per year for their children to have healthy breakfast and lunch provided at school.
With universal school meals, all students would eat without fees, regardless of family income status.
In 2022, the Legislature required all eligible schools to participate in the federal government’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program that provides meals without fees to all students in schools with large percentages of students experiencing poverty.
The majority of local schools participate:
|School District||School Name||Identified Student Percentage (ISP)||Eligible to Participate||Currently Participating|
|Aberdeen School District||A J West Elementary||67.95%||X||X|
|Aberdeen School District||Central Park Elementary||36.43%||X|
|Aberdeen School District||Harbor Junior/Senior High School||60.95%||X||X|
|Aberdeen School District||Hopkins Elementary||87.61%||X||X|
|Aberdeen School District||J M Weatherwax High School||45.37%||X||X|
|Aberdeen School District||McDermoth Elementary||48.45%||X||X|
|Aberdeen School District||Miller Junior High||52.84%||X||X|
|Aberdeen School District||Robert Gray Elementary||72.41%||X||X|
|Aberdeen School District||Stevens Elementary School||69.52%||X||X|
|Cosmopolis School District||Cosmopolis Elementary School||33.53%|
|Elma School District||East Grays Harbor High School||40.82%||X||X|
|Elma School District||Elma Elementary School||42.58%||X||X|
|Elma School District||Elma High School||35.66%||X|
|Elma School District||Elma Middle School||41.91%||X||X|
|Hoquiam School District||Central Elementary School||61.64%||X||X|
|Hoquiam School District||Emerson Elementary||60.94%||X||X|
|Hoquiam School District||Hoquiam High School||51.18%||X||X|
|Hoquiam School District||Hoquiam Homelink School||53.28%||X||X|
|Hoquiam School District||Hoquiam Middle School||59.71%||X||X|
|Hoquiam School District||Lincoln Elementary||61.35%||X||X|
|Lake Quinault School District||Lake Quinault School||65.69%||X||X|
|Mary M Knight School District||Mary M. Knight School||51.63%||X||X|
|McCleary School District||Mccleary Elem||29.17%||X|
|Montesano School District||Beacon Avenue Elementary School||29.64%|
|Montesano School District||Montesano Jr-Sr High||23.00%|
|Montesano School District||Simpson Avenue Elementary||27.49%|
|Naselle-Grays River Valley School District||Naselle Elementary||40.31%||X|
|Naselle-Grays River Valley School District||Naselle Jr Sr High Schools||42.70%||X|
|North Beach School District||North Beach Junior High School||57.31%||X||X|
|North Beach School District||North Beach Senior High School||61.41%||X||X|
|North Beach School District||Ocean Shores Elementary||47.48%||X||X|
|North Beach School District||Pacific Beach Elementary School||67.67%||X||X|
|North River School District||North River School||53.01%||X||X|
|Oakville School District||Oakville Elementary||54.84%||X||X|
|Oakville School District||Oakville High School||47.41%||X||X|
|Oakville School District||Oakville Homelink||48.28%||X||X|
|Oakville School District||Oakville Preschool||40.00%||X||X|
|Ocean Beach School District||Hilltop School||47.73%||X|
|Ocean Beach School District||Ilwaco High School||40.77%||X|
|Ocean Beach School District||Long Beach Elementary School||54.15%||X|
|Ocean Beach School District||Ocean Beach Options Academy||42.45%||X||X|
|Ocean Beach School District||Ocean Park Elementary||55.85%||X|
|Ocosta School District||Ocosta Elementary School||64.55%||X||X|
|Ocosta School District||Ocosta Junior – Senior High||58.57%||X||X|
|Queets-Clearwater School District||Queets-Clearwater Elementary||0.00%||X|
|Raymond School District||Raymond Elementary School||47.90%||X||X|
|Raymond School District||Raymond Jr Sr High School||46.25%||X||X|
|Rochester School District||Grand Mound Elementary||37.89%|
|Rochester School District||H.e.a.r.t. High School||49.06%||X|
|Rochester School District||Rochester High School||32.03%|
|Rochester School District||Rochester Middle School||36.42%|
|Rochester School District||Rochester Primary School||39.24%|
|Satsop School District||Satsop Elementary||33.33%|
|South Bend School District||Mike Morris Elementary||45.56%||X||X|
|South Bend School District||South Bend High School||48.62%||X||X|
|Taholah School District||Taholah Elementary & Middle School||68.69%|
|Taholah School District||Taholah High School||69.12%|
|Willapa Valley School District||Willapa Elementary||21.94%||X||X|
|Willapa Valley School District||Willapa Valley Middle-High||22.49%||X||X|
|Wishkah Valley School District||Wishkah Valley Elementary/High School||46.88%||X||X|
Several states have moved to a universal meals model, including California, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
The proposal to provide students with universal access to school meals is the fourth in a series of budget and policy proposals from Superintendent Reykdal called Washington State Innovates: K–12 Education for the 21st Century and Beyond.
If funded, all Washington students will have access to the universal school meals by the beginning of the 2023–24 school year.