Parliament Passes School Lunch Bill ({{commentsTotal}})

Parliament approved changes to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act that will mean free school lunches for secondary school children. Those in first through ninth grade already receive free meals.

The state will pay 78 cents per meal per student beginning from January 1, but critics say the sum is not enough and either municipalities or parents will have to pay the difference.

Education Minister Jevgeni Ossinovski said the sum will go directly to local municipal budgets and they must decide for themselves how they will manage. He said if a local government cannot come up with the amount, schools could continue to require payment from parents.

Ossinovski said the 78 cents is the mathematical cost of food needed to prepare the meals and is not meant to cover the whole cost of the lunch, which varies across municipalities and schools.

The ministry has budgeted 3.1 million euros in 2015 for the project, which will affect 22,500 students.