Baltimore County must expand free school meals

The League of Women Voters of Baltimore County deeply appreciates The Baltimore Sun’s editorial supporting implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision or CEP providing free meals to all children in high poverty schools in Baltimore County as well as the coverage by reporter Lauren Lumpkin. As the editorial correctly points out, research indicates that well-fed children are both higher performing students and better-behaved students (“Baltimore County should embrace universal free school meals,” July 23).

CEP will help not only those who meet the extremely low federal income guidelines to qualify for free and reduced-price meals but also those children in families with incomes barely above the guidelines who presently do not qualify for free meals. While this program may require Baltimore County Public Schools to seek new ways to acquire the statistics the system needs to qualify for other federally-funded programs, surely the talented business people in BCPS can meet this challenge.

The League of Women Voters understands the concerns of school leaders, but muting the sounds of growling stomachs and removing the stigma students, particularly in high school, feel could well prove to bring even greater academic progress and possibly even increased money to our schools because the improved food program would likely bring higher attendance rates. The league urges the Baltimore County Board of Education and administration to implement CEP in all eligible schools.

Judith B. Miller, Rodgers Forge

The writer is education chair for the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County.

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