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New York City Council Proposes Free Lunch for All Public School Students

by Kris Venezia
A child grabs his lunch.

US Department of Agriculture, Flickr

The City Council budget recommendations would eliminate school lunch fees.

The New York City Council wants free lunch for all public school students added to the budget for fiscal year 2015.

The City Council proposed an additional $257 million in programs on Wednesday to the mayor's preliminary $73.7 billion budget proposal. The City Council has called for the hiring of 1,000 new NYPD officers and free lunch for all public school students.

According to the organization Community Food Advocates, about 120,000 more public school students would receive midday meals with universal free lunch. Liz Accles, Executive Director of Community Food Advocates, said some students who currently have access to free lunch are embarrassed about getting in line for a free meal.

"Kids know who's eating free lunch, kids get tormented for it, they can get bullied," Accles said. "The only way to do away with that distinction is to eliminate the category that these kids fall into and give free lunch to all students."

The Department of Education already offers universal free breakfast for public school students. According to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's office, universal free lunch would cost the Department of Education $24 million.

The City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio have until June 30 to approve the 2015 budget.



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