free breakfasts mandated
From TheJournalStandard.com (Matt Richmond) which serves Freeport:
On Tuesday, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the Childhood Hunger Relief Act, a law requiring schools to offer breakfast if 40 percent or more of their students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.But is it an unfunded mandate? Apparently not.
While 39 percent of all Illinois students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, more than half of all Illinois schools already offer breakfast to their students. According to Becky Watts, spokesperson for the Illinois State Board of Education, the new law will affect only 358 of the more than 4,000 schools in the state. Nevertheless, she said, instituting the law was important.
The costs, it turns out, are minimal and are mostly reimbursed by the state or federal government. For example, Pearl City School, which has offered breakfast for 12 years, serves an average of 55 breakfasts a day, for 75 cents apiece at full price. The federal government, in turn, reimburses schools $1.23 for free breakfasts served, 93 cents for the reduced-price meal and 23 cents for each paid breakfast to help defray the districts' costs, which at Pearl City include paying a part-time employee to operate the breakfast service, food purchases and use of the kitchen, equipment and utilities. In addition, the state offers an additional 12.5 cents for each free breakfast served.I think Gov. Rod done good here. Anybody see a problem?