FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jonathan Hansen, Chief Strategy Officer
414.238.6478 office | 414.588.7614 mobile
Manitowoc Public School Advocates Working to Provide Healthy School Meals for All Students and End Lunch Shaming in the District
Action at November 14 board meeting would reverse school Superintendent’s decision to opt out of program providing meals to all students
MILWAUKEE – (October 27, 2023) – Community advocates and members of the Manitowoc Public School District (MPSD) Board of Directors have demanded Superintendent James Feil reverse his decision to opt out of a program which would have provided healthy school meals for all students during the 23/24 school year. The school district qualifies for the federal Community Eligibility Provision, which provides free healthy meals for all students regardless of their family’s income or eligibility for free or reduced-price meals.
Superintendent Feil opted out of the program for the 23/24 school year, reverting the district back to the free and reduced-price model. Under this model, students with outstanding school meal balances or whose families are unable to pay receive an alternate meal, a practice commonly referred to as “lunch shaming.” Superintendent Feil made the decision unilaterally without the consultation of the School’s Board of Directors or community input. MPSD was the only school district in the state to opt out.
“Since Superintendent Feil’s unilateral decision, there has been evidence of lunch shaming occurring over unpaid meal debt, extra stress on staff and a divide in our community,” says Stacey Eck, a parent with children in the District. “All children deserve to eat the same school meal as their peers without question. We demand that Superintendent Feil reverses this decision and issue a public statement that he will do so.”
“One of Hunger Task Force’s core goals is to end childhood hunger through strong school meal programs,” says Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force’s Chief Executive Officer. “Hunger Task Force serves Wisconsin as an anti-hunger public policy expert and has provided Superintendent Feil with the federal guidance on this matter to complete. We urge Superintendent Feil to complete these simple steps to reverse this decision and ensure their district provides healthy school meals for all students.”
The Superintendent has the opportunity to reverse this decision by submitting a waiver request to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. School board members have requested a motion and vote in favor of this decision to be made at the upcoming November 14 Board meeting.
Community advocates are encouraged to contact the Superintendent’s office at [email protected] or by phone at (920) 686-4781 for further information or updates.
Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s leading anti-hunger organization. The organization’s mission is to feed people in need today and end future hunger. Hunger Task Force operates a food bank that provides healthy food absolutely free of charge across Wisconsin. As advocates, Hunger Task Force works to end hunger through strong public policy work, legislative analysis, education and community organizing. For more information, visit HungerTaskForce.org.