Good news for schools and families — School Breakfast Program participation continues to rise across the country, according the latest annual School Breakfast Scorecard for the 2015-2016 school year, released last week by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).
On an average day in the 2015-2016 school year, 14.2 million children participated in the School Breakfast Program; 12.1 million of them were students eligible to receive free and reduced-price meals — an increase of 3.7 percent or nearly 433,000 low-income children over the previous year.
The FRAC School Breakfast Scorecard once again credits the success to strategies such as Classroom Breakfast, free breakfasts, and the national rollout of the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal option for high-poverty schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students. FRAC reports that by spring 2016, there were more than 18,000 high-poverty schools, serving 8.6 million children, offering breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students.
Nationally, on an average school day, 56 low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program for every 100 participating in the National School Lunch Program, up from 54.3 the previous school year and 50.4 percent in the 2011–2012 school year
Jim Weill, FRAC president, said in a news release, “While we are certainly happy progress is being made, there is still much room for improvement. Federal and state agencies, school districts, and education stakeholders must continue their efforts to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program.”
By the Numbers
*On an average school day, 14.2 million children participated in the School Breakfast Program.
*12.1 million low-income children, those eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, participated in school breakfast on an average day.
*433,000 more low-income children participated each day than in the previous school year, an increase of 3.7 percent.
*56 low-income children participated in school breakfast for every 100 participating in school lunch, up from 54.3 to 100 in the previous school year.
*90,355 schools offered breakfast and 98,004 offered school lunch.
*Since the 2006–2007 school year, the number of low-income children eating breakfast at school on an average day has increased by nearly half, growing from 8.1 million to 12.1 million in the 2015–2016 school year.
*92.2 percent of schools offering the National School Lunch Program also offered the School Breakfast Program, slightly higher than the 91.2 percent that did in the previous year.