Illinois is lagging other states in getting low-income students to eat breakfast at school, according to a new report.
The Food and Action Research Center ranks Illinois as 42nd in the nation when it comes to participation in school breakfast programs. For every 100 Illinois students receiving a free or reduced-price lunch, only 45 ate breakfast at school. The low ratio means the state misses out on federal funding for child nutrition.
“Why would the state walk away from…$50.5 million in federal funding and the ability to feed 195,000 kids?” said Diane Doherty, executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition.
School districts would receive that additional funding if they increased breakfast participation to 70 students for every 100 who eat lunch.
Doherty says some schools may have success with alternative approaches to school breakfast, such as serving it in classrooms while teachers take attendance.