Starting the day with a healthy breakfast does more than fill the bellies of school children. According to research by the Brookings Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, access to free meals in U.S. schools improves student academics — particularly in math — and reduces rates of suspension, especially among boys.
So when the state Legislature approved a $17 million investment in the Oregon Department of Education budget to expand free meals in schools, it was an even bigger win for Oregon students and their families.
“This is an important step in the right direction to give schools the resources they need to offer nutritious meals to more students,” said Wilsonville Representative Courtney Neron, who sponsored the bill, upon its passing.
Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, three out of four Oregon public schools will offer free breakfast and lunch. The increase in funding means approximately 200 additional schools will have free meal programs on campus. This means that 114,000 students won’t have to think about where most of their meals are coming from, another victory in the fight against food insecurity across the state.
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