Celebrity chefs think that the mayor should put money where his mouth is when it comes to funding in schools. Well-known culinary connoisseurs told the Daily News in an exclusive that they are publicly backing universal free lunch, which was included in City Council’s budget proposal this week, after Public Advocate Letitia James previously proposed it back in March.
The Council is asking for $20 million to $24 million to fund the program that would available for all students, no matter their family’s income.
Rachel Ray, a television personality cook, Tom Colicchio, a judge on “Top Chef,” Dan Kluger from ABC Kitchen, Alison Cayne of Haven’s Kitchen in Chelsea and Johnathan Adler of Franny’s in Brooklyn are among the kitchen A-listers who support free school lunch.
The chefs believe that providing free lunches would remove shame and embarrassment children feel in school when their families cannot afford to pay for lunch. About 75% of the city’s 1.1 million students qualify for free lunch, and about 350,000 kids currently don’t quality or have not submitted in the required paperwork.
De Blasio, whose political platform has focused education, saw a “historic” budget deal for universal prekindergarten, which will receive $300 million annual funding for 5 years. De Blasio has previously vowed to reduce inequalities in New York’s tale of two cities, so this proposal may be a chapter included in the future of New York.
The Daily News stated that the Department of Education told them that de Blasio “has concerns about the fiscal impact the measure might have because federal education funding is based on the percentage of kids who receive free lunch.”
De Blasio reportedly is said to be “looking to options,” as well as looking forward to working with the policy makers.