Breakfast and lunch: a no-cost munch

Minnesota passes statewide ‘lunchbox tax cut’ law


Alex Geretz

Students wait in line to pay for lunch March 23. Starting this fall, the “lunchbox tax cut” law will come into effect, making school breakfasts and lunches free of charge.

Alex Geretz

Starting next school year, every student will be able to get breakfast and lunch meals at Park completely free of charge.

Governor Tim Walz passed into law the proposed “lunchbox tax cut” bill that makes breakfast and lunch meals free for all students on a statewide level March 17. Park plans to implement this law and begin to offer free breakfasts and lunches at the start of the 2023–2024 school year.

The law will apply to all students, regardless of previous meal plan or family’s economic status. Junior Jake Ignatowicz said the law will give more students access to nutrition, a necessity for successful learning.

“These free lunches will provide a lot more people with the sort of nutrition that they need in order to perform better in their academic abilities and in order to foster a better environment that shows that no person will be hungry,” Ignatowicz said. “It helps more people to get a basic human right, regardless of income status for their family.”

The money will be provided from the Minnesota government through taxes. Media Center specialist Alison Tsuchiya Theiler said the free meals will significantly affect Park.

“It’s not coming out of St. Louis Park’s budget, so that might have an impact,” Tsuchiya Theiler said. “It’ll impact students because everyone will have the ability to get breakfast and lunch for free — and that’s huge.”

According to Principal LaNisha Paddock, this law will enable Park to provide more healthy meals to more students.

“I call it brain food,” Paddock said. “It’s that important for students to have healthy meals that are going to allow them to engage at high levels when they’re in the classroom.”

Ignatowicz said he was concerned that portion sizes and lunch quality may suffer due to the law.

“It’s just something that you kind of have to deal with if you want to get food here and you don’t have the time or means to make the food at home,” Ignatowicz said. “Personally, I don’t think (portions will be) enough, and I’m not sure how this set chunk of money that they’re getting to buy these lunches next year will affect the options that we have.”

According to Paddock, more information on how Park’s breakfast and lunch options will be affected will become available as we near the next school year.

“There’ll be more information coming because it’s not until next school year,” Paddock said. “But there’ll be more information coming on what that’s actually going to look like. It doesn’t mean every single thing in the cafeteria is just free now.”