HISD expands free breakfast to more schools

February 2, 2010 6:15:33 AM PST
There will now be free breakfast in the classroom for tens of thousands of HISD students. It's a new program being launched today to provide free meals in first period. The "First Class Breakfast" program will serve all students, regardless of income. Ten schools will be added every week until more than 220 campuses and 130,000 students are included.

The program will add 10 elementary and middle schools each week. By September, HISD will be serving more students breakfast in the classroom that any other district in the country.

The breakfast will not include junk food, no donuts or sugary cereals. It is made at HISD's 220,000 square-foot facility where the sugar and preservative content is controlled.

"Typically our students come to us before school. They have to get up early. They have to make sure they are coordinating their schedules with their folks and trying to get to school on time in order to get a breakfast at school," said HISD Director of Communications Julie Spreckelmeyer. "Now we are making it more convenient for them by having them have breakfast as soon as they get to school."

"That is in the classroom?" we asked.

"That is in the classroom. We find that when serve breakfast before school, only 35 percent of our students eat breakfast," she said. "But when we serve it in the classroom, that number jumps up to 80 to 81 percent."

That is in an impressive number because nationwide, 35 to 38 percent of students skip out on breakfast.

The program is federally funded by the USDA's National School Breakfast program, so it will not come out of taxpayer dollars here locally.