ST. PAUL, MINN – The Senate E-12 Budget Division heard testimony today on Sen. Alice Johnson’s School Breakfast legislation. S.F. 344 addresses school nutrition by providing free school breakfasts to all Minnesota elementary school-age children.
This bill would build on a 2014 appropriation that provided free school breakfast to all kindergarten students in Minnesota public schools. Senate File 344 would expand that appropriation to pay for breakfast for all students in Minnesota elementary schools.
A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota showed that childhood food insecurity costs Minnesota about $642 million annually in direct costs as children experience illness when they are not adequately fed. Children who go to school hungry are also twice as likely to need special counseling and to repeat a grade and three times more likely to be suspended from school.
In addition to hearing the merits of the bill, Gideon Pond Elementary (District 191) to provide examples of “Grab n Go” breakfast. (See attached photo)
Opponents asked why the state should provide free breakfast to all students, even those who can afford to pay. Sen. Johnson responded: “When only free and reduced price lunch students are given free breakfast, it can create a stigma that keeps them from accessing the breakfast offerings. It’s not fun to be pointed out as the kid who can’t afford breakfast. My legislation breaks down the stigma and non-academic barriers to learning.”
For more information on Sen. Johnson’s School Breakfast legislation, she can be reached at Sen.Alice.Johnson@senate.mn or by calling her office at (651) 296-2556.