COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — A panel of state lawmakers and school nutrition leaders continue their work on possible changes to school meal programs in South Carolina.

The Child Food and Nutrition Services Committee met at the State House on Tuesday to start drafting their recommendations for the rest of the General Assembly.

The group was tasked with studying whether school meals should be offered to all students in the state at no cost, increasing the usage of local produce in school meals and whether or not to move some or most of the school nutrition programs under the state Department of Agriculture.

Senator Greg Hembree (R-Horry) suggested keeping these programs with the state Department of Education for the time being. He emphasized this would prevent any disruptions to the programs.

Representative Jermaine Johnson (D-Richland) said he would support moving the programs under the state Department of Agriculture.

“I don’t see personally how offloading some of its responsibilities or sending it over somewhere else is going to be a bad thing,” he said.

The committee did not come to a consensus on this Tuesday but one proposal that was introduced was a ‘hybrid option’ where the responsibilities are split between both agencies.

“Split it up like it’s done in other states. So they can focus on what they do extremely, well,” Joe Urban with Greenville County Schools, said.

The panel plans to meet again next month once they have the latest fiscal impact estimates for universal free school meals.