The Texas House gave final approval to legislation increasing participation in the Federal School Breakfast Program. Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) and Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) had identical bills in their respective chambers. SB 376 is the bill which received final passage today.
The legislation requires 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 one was personally important to me,” said Representative Rodriguez. “Something as simple as eating breakfast can boost academic performance and create a better environment in which to learn. Too many children go to school hungry every day in Texas.”
SB 376 is a targeted expansion of the existing school breakfast program, which serves 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. SB 376 has no fiscal impact to the state. Schools will cover initial implementation, which is offset by future reimbursement rates.
“I’ve worked on this bill for several years to get this done, but the Legislature finally did right for hungry children,” said Representative Rodriguez.
In fact, under this bill, the program becomes more cost effective for schools because schools are receiving additional funding per meal and are serving more meals. Ultimately, the bill makes it easier for schools to administer the School Breakfast Program.
SB 376 now moves to the Governor’s desk for his signature.