Breakfast After the Bell Legislation

With the passing of the State budget, a new school breakfast requirement is in effect for certain districts in the 2018-2019 school year.

Public schools with 70% or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals – who are identified by NYS Education Department (NYSED) – are required to implement Breakfast After the Bell at the start of the 2018-2019 school year per section 2, Part B of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2018.

New York State Department of Education released a list of schools that will be required to implement Breakfast After the Bell in the 2018-2019 school year. Hunger Solutions New York has developed an easy-to-use directory to help you find out if schools in your community are impacted.

The state FY18-19 budget allocated $7M for local implementation costs. Funding will go directly to impacted schools to cover implementation costs in every school building affected. Each school under this new requirement will be able to access up to $5K in start-up grants from NYSED. The funding will help schools start new Breakfast After the Bell programs and also expand and employ new strategies in existing Breakfast After the Bell programs.

New York State Education Department announced funding is now available for schools required to implement Breakfast After the Bell. Find out more information about this opportunity.

Why Legislate School Breakfast?

Nationally, New York consistently ranks among the poorest performing states in reaching low-income children with school breakfast. Although some districts have experienced success with increasing participation locally, it has not been enough to translate to significant statewide increases.

Every state that has turned around stagnant growth in the School Breakfast Program and has climbed to the top of national rankings has legislation ensuring that breakfast is offered in a way that is accessible to students in high-poverty schools.

The problem is that many school districts continue to serve breakfast when most children have not yet arrived. The traditional school breakfast program — served in the cafeteria before school begins — misses too many children who qualify to eat at school for free or at a reduced-price. Time constraints, transportation, early start times, the stigma that school breakfast is only for “poor kids,” and other issues prevent children and teenagers from getting to school with enough time to eat before the first bell rings.

The solution is simple: serve breakfast during the first few minutes of the school day and offer the meal to all students, eliminating stigma. This approach boosts breakfast participation and ensures that all children begin their school day with the nutrition they need to concentrate and learn.

Overview of NYS Breakfast After the Bell Legislation


  • Public schools that have 70% or more of students who qualify for free and reduced-price school meals.
  • Does not apply to charter schools & non-public schools.


  • Schools identified by NYSED will be required to offer school breakfast after the start of the instructional day, also referred to as “Breakfast After the Bell.”
  • All schools will identify on their annual renewal if they are participating in Breakfast After the Bell and if so, what delivery model(s) they are using.


  • 2018-2019 school year.
  • Continues every year.