Funding Bolsters Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program

MACo submitted written testimony in support with amendments of House Bill 1235, “Maryland Meals for Achievement In-Classroom Breakfast Program – Eligibility and Annual Appropriation”, to the House Ways and Means Committee on March 13, 2018.

The bill allows schools that fall below 40% of students that qualify for the free and reduced-price meal (FRPM) program to remain eligible for one year following the fall below the 40% threshold. This allows schools that experience an anomaly in those eligible for the program to not lose eligibility from what could be a blip on the radar.

Additionally, the bill requires the governor to appropriate 11.9 million to the Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) program annually. MACo generally supports the principles of the bill, but is seeking an amendment that would not make the annual allocation concrete, so as to not potentially siphon off resources from other educational priorities.

From MACo Testimony:

This bill would provide more funding consistency for schools that fleetingly fall below the 40% free and reduced-price meal (FRPM) student population eligibility threshold for the Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) program.

While MACo supports the premise of this bill, counties are cognizant of the fiscal challenges at the state level, and are concerned that a concrete spending mandate could compromise other education priorities.

MACo supports the effort to strengthen and expand the MMFA program, and would support an amended bill to address potential fiscal implications at the state level.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.