ICYMI: New York Times / Texas Tribune Story Highlights Importance of School Breakfast Program Legislation

In a recent New York Times / Texas Tribune article House Bill 296 / Senate Bill 376 (by E. Rodriguez/Lucio Jr.) to increase participation in the school breakfast program was profiled as gaining momentum after unanimously passing out of the Committee on Public Education and the Senate Committee on Education.

H.B. 296 would require that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools participating in the federal School Breakfast Program provide a free breakfast to all students if 80 percent or more of their students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

“This school breakfast program legislation provides an opportunity for children to begin their day with a nutritious breakfast that is currently underutilized in Texas,” said Representative Rodriguez. “Studies show that breakfast programs in schools reduces hunger among low-income children and leads to improved health and nutrition, and increases attentiveness and academic performance.”

H.B. 296 is a targeted expansion of the existing school breakfast program to serve campuses with 80 percent or more economically disadvantaged. Through leveraging existing federal funds, increasing participation in school breakfast is cost-neutral for schools at the 80 percent threshold. H.B. 296 has no fiscal impact to the state. Schools will cover initial implementation, which is offset by future reimbursement rates.

New York Times, 4/25/13,“Aiming to Serve Free Breakfasts to All Students in Poor Areas”

(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/education/considering-free-breakfasts-for-all-texas-students-in-poor-areas.html?_r=0)