State still leaving $59M in annual federal aid on the table
new national report finds that sixty-one low-income Texas children ate school breakfast for every 100 that received subsidized school lunch in the last school year. This slight increase over the previous year means that an average of 1.5 million low-income children ate a free or reduced-price breakfast each school day. The report estimated that an additional $59M in federal aid would flow to Texas schools each year if the state were able to reach seventy out of every 100 needy students.
“Texas has done a good job making this program available, but students clearly still face barriers and stigma in order to eat breakfast before the first bell,” said Celia Cole, CEO of the Texas Food Bank Network. “Universal, in-class breakfast strategies have the potential to boost participation in the existing program, significantly improving student learning and health at no cost to the state.”
Texas mandates that nearly all public schools offer the federally-funded breakfast program. A new law passed by the state legislature in 2013 aims to boost participation by asking high-need schools to make breakfast available to all students without cost.
“Anything we can do to boost the academic performance of children from low-income families is going to have a significant pay-off for the state,” added Cole.
The School Breakfast Scorecard, released annually by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), measures the reach of the School Breakfast Program nationally and by state. School district-level data is also available for Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
The Texas Food Bank Network provides a unified voice among food banks in support of their common mission to end hunger in Texas. Learn more at TFBN.org.