CFPA's school meal analysis describes student participation in the National
School Lunch Program and federal School Breakfast Program, and the
resulting fiscal impact on public school districts throughout California.
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School breakfast programs in Californiaâ€™s public school districts fail to reach 70 percent of the stateâ€™s 3.4 million low-income students. Seventy percent of low-income students in California participate in the National School Lunch Program but only 30 percent participate in the federal School Breakfast Program. This low participation rate translates to over $365 million in untapped federal meal reimbursements for the state.
While the vast majority of public schools in California operate the School Breakfast Program, many students are unable to access school breakfast because of when and where itâ€™s served: in the cafeteria before the school day begins. That traditional service model excludes students who, due to transportation or family schedules, are not able to arrive to school early. That traditional service model can also exacerbate the stigma associated with receiving free or low-cost school meals.
Fortunately, there are school districts across California successfully supporting their students with innovative, cost-effective service models like Classroom Breakfast, Second Chance Breakfast, and Grab nâ€™ Go that increase school breakfast participation. Serving breakfast after the school day begins or from multiple locations around campus helps connect more students to the health and academic benefits of a morning meal.
Legislators, administrators, educators, parents, students, and concerned community members can take immediate action to help close the school breakfast gap:
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