By Roger Adkins
CHARLESTON — There is less confusion these days about legislation passed to help provide free meals to West Virginia students, according to school administrators.
When the Feed to Achieve bill (SB 663) was passed in April, it caused a lot of confusion for administrators and the general public, said Richard Goff, executive director of the West Virginia Office of Child Nutritional Services.
“We’ve had a lot of conference calls and workshops. We’ve also sent out a lot of written guidance to clarify misconceptions,” Goff said.
Many thought Feed to Achieve was an unfunded mandate, requiring school systems to feed all students for free without establishing the funds to do so, said Tiffany Curran, child nutrition director for Harrison County Schools.
Others thought it replaced current meal programs, Goff said.
“It piggybacks, supports or supplements all of the programs currently in place. That’s why it passed without a fiscal note,” Goff said.
The bill goes into effect next year, and has four primary goals, Goff said.
It’s aimed at realigning the way schools handle breakfast to ensure that more students eat. It also establishes Feed to Achieve Funds in each county, and one state fund, that accept donations to help offset food costs and supplement current programs, Goff said.
The bill also focuses on Farm to School initiatives that get fresh, locally produced food into schools. Finally, the bill requires the West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition to report to the Legislature regularly on child hunger in schools, Goff said…