Governor Kelly: Kansas joins free, reduced-price school meal program

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly announced on Friday that the state of Kansas has been chosen as one of eight states to participate in a demonstration project that will expand free and reduced-price meals for students.

The announcement came in the form of a press release from the office of Governor Laura Kelly on Dec. 17. It stated the new project would use Medicaid eligibility data to certify eligible students for free and reduced-price school meals.

“This project will expand free, reduced-priced meals for some of our most vulnerable students,” Governor Kelly said. “Our kids need reliable access to healthy foods to learn and grown, and this is great news for our state, students, and families.”

The project is being collaborated on by the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. This latest round of the demonstration project will allow further testing of Medicaid Direct Certification which was first initiated in 2010 through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

“Kansas is excited to be a part of this pilot project,” Janet Stanek, KDHE Acting Secretary, said. “This project will directly impact students on Medicaid and remove barriers to receiving healthy and nutritious meals while at school.”

The project’s goal is to make it easier for children from low-income households to receive free and reduced-price school meals, according to the USDA. Most students who receive free or reduced-price school meals have been certified based on information they submit in an application.

Other families can also be deemed eligible if they participate in other benefit programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

The other seven states taking part in this project include Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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