ISBE needs General Assembly to pass an education budget in order to offer feeding programs this summer
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced it will not be able to offer free meals this summer to thousands of children at more than 2,000 sites across the state until the General Assembly passes an education budget.
“Many of our children rely on our schools for access to nutritious meals during the school year and it is equally important during the summer months,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Without passage of a funding bill, many of these education programs and grants are in danger. Each day this uncertainty continues, our kids suffer. Passing a PreK-12 budget will ensure schools open on time and our students have access to the resources they need.”
Without an appropriation, ISBE cannot distribute grants to community partners that run these summer meal sites.
ISBE administers these summer programs which help provide nutritious meals to children across the state. School districts, local government entities, and nonprofit organizations serve as summer food sponsors and sites to ensure our most vulnerable children have free, healthy meals and snacks all summer long. ISBE’s partners, No Kid Hungry and the Illinois Hunger Coalition, staff the hotline and texting numbers, referring families to meal sites.
Last summer, Illinois had 168 sponsors for the Summer Food Service Program and an additional 136 sponsors in the Seamless Summer Option, helping provide meals to children 18 and younger. Both summer meal programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by ISBE. Sponsors oversaw 2,372 meal sites in communities throughout Illinois in 2015.