The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Acorn Newsmagazine

The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Michigan’s public schools to serve free school breakfast and lunch

Members+of+the+Royal+Oak+High+School+Lunch+Staff.
Ava Emery
Members of the Royal Oak High School Lunch Staff.

Lunch and breakfast will be free at Royal Oak High School and every public school in Michigan for the 2023-24 school year. This change comes after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the education budget for the 2024 fiscal year.
The 24.3 billion dollar budget included 160 million dollars to provide free school lunch and breakfast to all public schools in Michigan. This change is only for the current school year, and any extensions would have to be voted on and approved by the state legislature. A bill to extend the program to future years has been introduced, and as of this publication, it has been sent to the committee.
The push for free school lunch has existed since 2021, when it was first enacted in California, but recently gained traction under the Whitmer administration. Whitmer proposed the free breakfast and lunch program as a part of her budget back in February, which she said would help students “pursue their potential and build a bright future.”
In a press release, Whitmer said, “This budget puts students first and supports parents by expanding access to free pre-K, providing free breakfast and lunch to all public school students, and improving higher education.”
Royal Oak Schools Director of Food Services Mike Jacobs confirmed that the program has led to an increase in students getting school lunches.
“We were serving lunches to, on average, 555 students last year at the high school, and this year we are averaging over 850 per day,” said Jacobs. “That’s an increase of 53%. The middle school and the elementary schools have also seen similar increases.”

Jacobs explained what has changed and what has stayed the same with regard to food service.
“Since more kids are eating lunch this year than ever before, we’ve had to work harder and faster than before,” he said. “We’ve added staff members to certain kitchens to help with the increased workload. No changes have been made so far in regard to lunch period timing. The menu options for this year are the same as last year. We have not reduced the variety or quality.”
A poll of students (HOW MANY) at Royal Oak High School shows overwhelming support for the new program. 100% of respondents said that they support the program. The poll also shows that 29% of respondents get both lunch from school and bring one from home.
Junior Trevor Mulheisen spoke of the convenience of the program.
“I don’t like to pack a lunch, so it is very convenient for those who don’t bring lunch,” he said.
The changes have had a positive reception from Royal Oak High School staff as well.
“I think it’s great! I know that the State of Michigan has been working hard on figuring out how to make this happen in the budget,” said ROHS Assistant Principal Alyssa Reimold. “This move to fund school breakfast/lunch is huge. Looking beyond our own community, this assists many communities who may not otherwise have the means to have a healthy balanced breakfast and lunch daily. We also know that food fuels us and this move to ensure students have the resources they need, helps students focus fully on learning.”

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About the Contributors
Aidan Morris, Layout Editor
Hello! My name is Aidan Morris and I am a Senior here at ROHS. As a layout editor, a position I share with Estela, I work to create the layout of the magazine putting together the ads, photos, and stories. When I’m not writing and working on Layout’s, I enjoy going on walks, going to the ponds at the graveyard, spending time with friends, and going bowling. I have been a member of the ROHS bowling team for 3 years now. My favorite memory was when we beat North Farmington at home last year. I can’t wait to see how my final year of Acorn goes and I am certain it will be a wonderful year.
Ava Emery, Head Photographer
My name is Ava. I'm so excited to start my second year in Acorn as the head photographer! I play varsity volleyball as a senior this year and  I love to read and write in my free time.

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