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School Breakfast

School Breakfast Program Policy

Policy change is an important tool for achieving sustainable, widespread change and school breakfast program policy is an area ripe for advocacy.  Through state legislation or district policy, states and localities have taken steps to increase participation in school breakfast, including:

  • Requiring innovative breakfast program models, such as breakfast in the classroom.
  • Providing universally-free breakfast.
  • Providing funding for start-up/expansion costs related to changing breakfast models.
  • Providing an additional per-meal reimbursement.
  • Requiring schools to offer breakfast.
  • Eliminating the reduced-price category.

 

Resources on School Breakfast Policy

Effective Policies for Increasing Participation in School Breakfast Programs - This policy brief provides a background on the various policy options to consider related to school breakfast as well as examples of successful school breakfast policy enacted in New Mexico and Washington DC.

Case Studies 

 

State Legislation 

 

State

Year

Category

Summary

Arkansas

2013

Funding

Authorizes funding for the Arkansas Department of Education to implement innovative breakfast programs.

Colorado

2013

Mandate

Requires Colorado schools with 80 percent or more students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals to offer a nutritious after the bell breakfast to all students at no cost, access beginning in the 2014-15 school year. In the 2015-16 school year, schools with 70 percent or more qualifying students would have to comply. Schools that meet the CO Department of Education's definition of "small, rural school district" (1,000 students or less) will be exempt.

District of Columbia

2010

Mandate and Funding

Requires that elementary schools with over 40 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals serve Breakfast in the Classroom while middle or high schools that meet this threshold must offer any innovative breakfast service model, such as Breakfast in the Classroom or Grab N’ Go. The bill also removes the reduced-price co-payment. Additionally, the bill authorizes almost $4 million in annual funding to schools to implement the requirements of the legislation. In the 2010-11 school year, the bill provided $7 per student to schools for costs associated with starting an innovative school breakfast service model.

Maryland

2014 Policy Note

Eases implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision in Maryland schools by altering the enrollment counting procedures for state educational funding.*

Maryland

2014

Funding

In April 2014, the Maryland Legislature approved the state budget including Governor O'Malley's proposal to increase the budget for Maryland Meals for Achievement by $1.7m for the 2015 fiscal year. This additional funding will enable an estimated 40,000 more students to start their day ready to learn.

Nebraska

2014

Resolution

Establish a study to examine the utilization of school breakfast and school lunch, and the impact of community eligibility.*

Nebraska

2014

Funding

Provide school districts that implement an alternative breakfast model a one-time incentive grant, based upon school enrollment, for $2000 to $5000.*

New Jersey

2014

Mandate

Promote the adoption of alternative breakfast models, such as breakfast in the classroom, and require the state to track breakfast participation at the school level as well as the manner in which breakfast is served.

New Mexico

2014

Mandate

Builds on previous Breakfast After the Bell legislation by expanding the requirement from elementary schools to all K-12 schools that have at least 85 percent of their students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Texas

2013

Mandate

Requires schools to offer a free breakfast to all students if the school has 80 percent or more of its students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The bill allows schools to request a waiver for one year after a public hearing and only if approved by a vote of the governing body of the school.

Washington

2014

Mandate

Establish a four-year, phased-in process of expanding breakfast after the bell in high need schools. The bill also dedicates staff support within the state agency for assistance in implementation.*

West Virginia

2013

Mandate

Increases school breakfast program participation by expanding innovative breakfast delivery models and creating local sources of funding for child nutrition programs.

*The legislative session ended without the bill being passed.

Supporting school breakfast initiatives