Columbus – Today, State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) testified for Senate Bill 54, her bipartisan legislation to help provide summer meals for Ohio’s children. Senator Peggy Lehner is joint-sponsoring the bill. The senators encouraged the Ohio Senate to pass the bill quickly to make sure it can be enacted in time for this coming summer break.

“The need for this bill boils down to a very simple reality: childhood hunger in Ohio does not end when school is no longer in session. But access to nutrition programs administered through the schools does end when the school buildings are no longer available,” said Senator Brown. “This bill, which I’m proud to joint sponsor along with Senator Lehner, will encourage outside food providers to use school facilities that are already conveniently located in local neighborhoods.”

Senate Bill 54 will apply to school districts that both opt out of offering summer food services for financial reasons and where 50 percent or more of the local children qualify for free or reduced meal programs. This legislation requires schools in these districts to permit an approved summer food service provider to use its facilities. 

It is important to note that Senate Bill 54 will not create an additional cost for schools. A school will be able to charge the third-party provider for use of its facilities, such as the use of equipment and the prorated amount for utilities. In addition, school districts will not be held liable for the summer food program operation.

During the last General Assembly (GA), the bill (SB 247) passed out of committee and the Senate unanimously. During this GA, Senators Brown and Lehner have located bipartisan representatives who will soon introduce a companion bill in the Ohio House.

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