Expansion Statewide—and to $2 Million?
For the record, Detroit Public Schools is interested in having the opportunity to participate in the program, as are other school districts in southeast Michigan and other parts of the state, including the Upper Peninsula. So far, only the west side of the Lower Peninsula, the Washtenaw region and Michigan’s Thumb region are part of the program.
State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, has heard the message. He chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on K-12 and the Michigan Department of Education, the key senate committee where the budget for 10 Cents is determined. Sen. Schmidt is championing an expansion of 10 Cents a Meal so that it would be available to schools statewide to compete for the grants. He’d also make it so that early childhood centers could compete for funding. And he supports an increase of funding for the pilot program from the current $575,000 to $2 million.
That’s a realistic increase to be able to expand the program so that more populous communities in the state can participate, and to meet the still unmet and growing demand in the existing regions. There were 121 applicants this year, for example, but funding enough for only 57 districts.
From Mancelona to Detroit, and School Cafeterias to Farms
There are loads of quotes in the new 10 Cents a Meal report to the legislature, but here’s one from rural Mancelona.
“Students are taking more fresh apples this school year and more importantly they aren’t throwing them away once they leave the register!” said Jessica Moody, Food Service Director for Mancelona Public Schools, in the 10 Cents a Meal legislative report. “The switch to all local apples (which taste better!) have made a huge difference.”
Maybe kids in Detroit soon will be able to experience this, too. The tri-county Detroit region, as the Michigan League for Public Policy said in its support of 10 Cents, is where nearly 40% of Michigan’s children ages 6 to 17 live.
The School Nutrition Association of Michigan, the professional organization of school food service directors, and Michigan Farm Bureau also have provided statements of support. You can find them on the homepage of www.tencentsmichigan.org
So how about you? Contact your legislators and Gov. Whitmer!
It’s spring break until April 9 for legislators, and many of them are home in their districts and have scheduled coffee hours where constituents can come in and meet with them.
You have a brand new legislative report with the latest quotes and data about 10 Cents a Meal. Print it off and take it with you! It’s available to view, download, and share at www.tencentsmichigan.org on the Homepage, About page and Tools for Communities page.
Make sure your legislator knows about 10 Cents a Meal and its impact, just as Lily, Winona, and Kelsey did.
You can find your Michigan representative here and your senator here, just go to their web page to take a look at their calendars. And please keep me posted about your efforts and what you hear!
I’m sure Governor Gretchen Whitmer—who included funding for 10 Cents in her budget—would want to know your thoughts, too.
You can hear Sen. Schmidt talk with Groundwork about 10 Cents a Meal in a Facebook live interview at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 28.
And if you haven’t done so already, click here to join the growing list of nearly 450 individuals and organizations supporting 10 Cents a Meal, and working to make investing in local food for kids a part of Michigan’s identity.