Illinois schools in which at least 40 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches will also have to provide breakfast to low-income students, under a new state law.
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich on Feb. 15 signed the Childhood Hunger Relief Act, which he and state lawmakers predict will help improve student academic performance and behavior through improved nutrition—a benefit of meals programs that health researchers have long cited.
About 45 percent of Illinois’ 1.8 million school-age children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. But the state ranked 48th among states in providing breakfasts to low-income students, according to a report cited by the Democratic governor’s office.
Both the state and federal governments are helping Illinois schools cover the costs of the breakfasts. The breakfasts provided by districts will be free, or sold at reduced prices, depending on a student’s eligibility under federal guidelines.
A version of this article appeared in the March 02, 2005 edition of Education Week