Breakfast,Poverty,Spokane Public Schools

A record number of poor kids are eating breakfast at school; program endangered

February 15, 2017
in Kids

A record number of low-income children have begun to eat breakfast at school. But the policy most credited with boosting their numbers may be on the chopping block under President Donald Trump. According to the latest School Breakfast Scorecard, an annual report released Tuesday by the Food Research and Action Center, school breakfast participation among low-income kids grew 3.7 percent in the 2015-16 school year. More than 12 million low-income kids now eat breakfast at school, up almost 50 percent from 10 years ago. Advocates chalk that growth up, in large part, to the expansion of the Community Eligibility Provision, an Obama-era program that remains unpopular with many Republicans. Under CEP, schools or school districts where 40 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price meals may offer those meals free to all students. Only three schools in Spokane – Holmes, Grant and Stevens elementary schools – participate in the CEP program, said Doug Wordell, Spokane Public Schools director of nutrition services. This is the third year the schools have participated. If the program ends it will not “have a significant impact on Spokane,” he said. Between the three schools about 1,500 Spokane students currently utilize the program. Although the program has proved useful in some ways, Wordell said, it also has caused problems. Specifically, the three schools lost about $60,000 in education funding. That happened because once the meals were provided for free, families had no incentive to return surveys to the school – surveys which the schools needed to report to the state to qualify for other forms of education funding. “It sounds really good on the surface, but the backside is your school could lose education funding,” Wordell said, adding later, “It’s a...

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