Newburgh, Buffalo and Syracuse schools rank high among large districts

– Despite Improvement, State Ranks 36th on School Breakfast Scorecard

Albany, N.Y., February 13, 2019 — New York has made significant strides in ensuring that more low-income children start their day with school breakfast, although too many low-income children are not getting the nutrition they need to be ready to learn, according to Hunger Solutions New York. The organization pointed to the School Breakfast Scorecard released today by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). Despite reaching over 700,000 low-income children with school breakfast on a typical day in the 2017-2018 school year — an 8.5 percent increase from the prior school year — New York ranks 36th in the nation on FRAC’s Scorecard.

New York had the largest increase in the nation in the number of low-income students participating in school breakfast in the 2017–2018 school year, with over 56,000 more low-income students participating in school breakfast than in the 2016–2017 school year. This increase is due in large part to New York City’s rollout of a districtwide Breakfast After the Bell program in its elementary schools and its districtwide implementation of community eligibility a federal option that allows high-needs schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students.

However, a significant increase in the number of children across the state participating in school breakfast is expected this school year and beyond, largely due to Governor Cuomo’s No Student Goes Hungry Program. As part of this initiative, 1,400 New York schools are required to offer Breakfast after Bell.

Strategies, like Breakfast After the Bell and universal breakfast, can break down common barriers that result in too many children missing out on school breakfast — barriers such as timing, convenience, and cost — and increase school breakfast participation. Research shows that children who eat school breakfast have improved attendance, behavior, and academic performance, and spend less time with the school nurse.

“The No Student Goes Hungry is a big step in the right direction toward expanding breakfast after the bell programs in schools across the state,” said Linda Bopp, director, Hunger Solutions New York. “While progress is being made, FRAC’s report demonstrates that we still have a long way to go to ensure all low-income children in the state reap the many benefits of school breakfast: less hunger, better health, and improved educational outcomes.”

Today, FRAC also released School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts, a companion report to the Scorecard. The report ranks the Newburgh Enlarged City School District third out of 76 large school districts from across the country that was surveyed for the report. The upstate district reached 92.9 low-income children with school breakfast for every 100 participating in school lunch, surpassing FRAC’s goal of reaching 70 low-income children with school breakfast for every 100 who eat school lunch. Buffalo Public Schools and the Syracuse City School District also exceeded FRAC’s goal, reaching 75.8 and 74.3 children with school breakfast for every 100 receiving school lunch, respectively.

“We know what works to end childhood hunger and ensure all of New York’s children have the opportunity for a healthier and brighter future,” said Bopp.

About the School Breakfast Scorecard 

This report measures the reach of the School Breakfast Program in the 2017–2018 school year — nationally and in each state — based on a variety of metrics, and examines the impact of select trends and policies on program participation. On an average school day, nearly 12.5 million low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program in the school year 2017–2018. Four million more low-income children received school breakfast on an average day in the 2017-2018 school year than a decade prior in the 2007–2008 school year. Read the School Breakfast Scorecard in full.

About School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts 

This companion report to the Scorecard examines School Breakfast Program participation rates and trends in 76 of America’s largest school districts. Nearly 2.3 million low-income students in the school districts surveyed for this report participated in school breakfast in the 2017–2018 school year. Thirty of the school districts surveyed increased school breakfast participation in the 2017–2018 school year compared to the prior school year.  Read School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts in full.

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About Hunger Solutions New York, Inc. Hunger Solutions New York is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger. We promote awareness of hunger in communities across the state, awareness about programs that address hunger, full participation in hunger assistance programs for all who are eligible, public policies that contribute to ending hunger, and public awareness of the economic benefit of anti-hunger programs. For more information, visit www.HungerSolutionsNY.org.