Officials, advocates push back against 3SquaresVT rule change

This article by Susan Allen originally appeared Nov. 5 in the Brattleboro Reformer.

BRATTLEBORO — State and local officials and child advocates are pushing back against a proposed federal rule change that would reduce the number of families eligible for food stamps, thereby knocking roughly 3,233 low-income Vermont children out of free and reduced-cost school meal programs.


Vermont Education Secretary Dan French

That loss will be felt by individual families across the state struggling to make ends meet and keep food on the table, but the impact could be broader and felt in schools across the state, they said. Federal funding for school meal programs is based on qualified participation rates, so removing even a few children from free meals programs in small schools could put those programs in jeopardy.

“Many Vermont communities are small and rural and experience high rates of poverty and food insecurity,” Vermont Education Commissioner Daniel French wrote in a letter of opposition to the proposed changes. The public comment period on the proposed change ended Nov. 1.

“This proposed rule change will negatively impact too many of our youngest residents, students who not only rely on SNAP for nutrition at home, but who additionally receive Free and Reduced Lunch benefits at school,” French wrote. “Access to these benefits is crucial to their continued growth and success in the classroom and beyond.”

Currently, children whose families qualify for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or 3SquaresVT in Vermont) are automatically eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. Under the proposed change, the number of families eligible for SNAP benefits would be reduced, cutting their children out of the school lunch program, or requiring their families to complete an application process to keep their children enrolled.

Read full article at the Brattleboro Reformer.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Images courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture and TNR

4 thoughts on “Officials, advocates push back against 3SquaresVT rule change

  1. Why are there no details of the changes included in this piece? Could it be that the changes are reasonable thus deluting the narrative? Be interested to know what the changes are and why they effect school children.

  2. There all getting free breakfast and lunch now. So explain why test scores are going down. — I’m tired of the “free stuff” people.

  3. I live in Texas and getting any kind of food assistance either SNAP or free or reduced-price lunches in school has to be applied for again and again to make sure circumstances haven’t changed and you are truly in need of services you are getting. Nothing wrong with that.

  4. Oh the horrors – families would have to complete an application process to keep receiving free stuff. What a horrid inconvenience.

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