There are two bills currently in the 2023 state legislative session proposing to make school lunch free of charge for all K-12 students.

During the first two years of the pandemic, the federal government waived lunch fees due to school closures and COVID-19 lockdowns.

However, school lunch fees were reinstated during the 2022-23 school year.

Back in September, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said he would submit a proposal to the state legislature to bring back free lunches.

Both HB 1238 and SB 5339 are proposing to extend the free lunch and breakfast program to the 330,000 students currently ineligible for the free or reduced lunch program.

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If the bills are passed, all students will be eligible for free meals at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) would need to reimburse school districts for the lost revenue, and would also lead a work group that would identify potential financial impacts to education programs.

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