This morning, the D.C.-based Food Research and Action Center released a report -- School Breakfast in America's Big Cities 2011 -- that takes a look at the free-breakfast programs in 29 of the nation's largest school districts, including the Dallas Independent School District. Says the study, during the '09-'10 school year, of the districts surveyed DISD had the largest percent of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals: 86.4 percent. Compare that with Seattle, where only 43.6 percent qualify. And in Dallas, fewer than 40 percent who qualify actually take part in the program. Says the report:
Of the 29 large urban school districts surveyed in this report, only four -- Charlotte, Dallas, Little Rock, and Seattle -- do not provide free breakfast to all students, regardless of income, at many or all of their schools. Notably, three out of four of these districts failed even to match the participation rate for low-income student breakfast in their states.
Which is why this morning Walmart Foundations announced that DISD will be one of five school districts in the country to receive a slice of a $3-million grant aimed at "expanding free breakfast to all students and moving it from the cafeteria to the classroom at many high-need schools in these districts."
A FRAC spokesperson told me this morning the goal is to roll out the dough beginning "as quickly as possible," meaning this semester. I've asked DISD for a list of participating schools in the Breakfast in the Classroom program, but DISD spokesperson Sandra Guerrero tells Unfair Park this morning that the district has yet to determine in which schools to use the grant money. She says "some schools have already signed up," and that "other principals have expressed interest" and met with Dora Rivas, the exec director for Food and Child Nutrition Services.
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Guerrero says some logistical issues need to be worked out before implementation can begin. She notes "there will be different models -- like a grab-and-go, which we already have in place at some campuses now, where they grab breakfast in the cafeteria and take it into the classroom." In some instances, though, carts may be brought into the classroom; and still more schools will likely feed kids breakfast in the cafeteria or the gym -- it all depends upon need and space. Says Guerrero, "We're looking into launching this tenatively late February, early March."