‘Breakfast After the Bell’ on the Books

(July 1) – A bill to help make sure more Colorado schoolkids get a decent breakfast went into effect today, in time for the start of the new school year next month.

HB13-1006, sponsored by Reps. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) and Tony Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs), will phase in a requirement that schools where at least 80 percent of the students qualify for federal free or reduced-cost lunch will serve breakfast to all students after the official start of school.

Many students who qualify for existing before-school breakfast programs don’t get to school in time to eat. Some of them stay away because of the stigma of acknowledging that their families are too poor to feed them.

When the Adams 14 School District went from school breakfast before the bell to an after-the-bell meal, the participation rate went from 30 percent to 98 percent. The vast majority of the cost of Breakfast After the Bell is covered by an existing federal program.

“Hungry kids don’t learn as well,” Rep. Moreno said. “After the new school year begins in August we’ll begin to see the effects of the new law – better academic performances and fewer behavior issues in school.”

By serving breakfast during attendance-taking and announcements, schools that have already initiated Breakfast After the Bell have been able to do it with no reduction in instruction time.

“This is one way to help level the educational playing field for students from low-income families,” Rep. Exum said.

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