More New Jersey school districts are feeding low-income students breakfast as their classes begin each day, which has led to a 21 percent increase in the number of children receiving a free or reduced-cost breakfast at school, Advocates for Children of New Jersey found.
A report the group released yesterday details the participation rates for 325 New Jersey school districts required to offer a breakfast program because at least 20 percent of their total student enrollment meets income eligibility requirements. In the current school year, a student is eligible for a free meal if he or she lives in a family of four with an annual income of no more than $29,965, which is 130 percent of the federal poverty limit; for a reduced-price meal, the allowable income is 185 percent of poverty, or $42,643 for a family of four, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ACNJ found that just 35 percent of more than 470,000 eligible students actually got a free or low-cost breakfast last March. In 13 districts required to offer a program, no students were fed. In three others -- Montague in Sussex County, Washington Twp. in Burlington, and Central Jersey College Prep Charter in Somerset -- nine of every 10 eligible children got a breakfast.
The map indicates for each district the percentage of students eligible for a free or reduced-price breakfast that actually received a meal. Districts shaded in grey have fewer than 20 percent of enrollment eligible for a breakfast and so are not required to offer the program.
More detailed information is available for participating districts on the maps listed below. The data includes the total enrollment, number and percent of students eligible, percent of eligible students served, number of students not receiving a breakfast, and the additional amount of federal aid the district would get if all eligible students were given breakfast.