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In the 2006-2007 school year, Washington became the first state in the country to eliminate the co-pay for reduced-price breakfast. The State provided funds in its 2007-2009 budget to continue the reduced-price breakfast co-pay elimination and added $3.6 million to expand the program to include elimination of the $.40 lunch co-pay for students in grades K-3.
Eliminating the reduced-price breakfast co-pay for eligible students was associated with a 36% increase in participation. The number of reduced-price breakfasts served increased by more than 1,270,000 between 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. In the 6 years prior to 2006-2007, the number of reduced-priced breakfasts served increased by an average of less than 150,000 per year.
Elimination of the reduced-price lunch co-pay for grades K-3 began in fall 2007. Preliminary data from a small sample of districts (n=29) show a 16.3% increase in reduced-price school lunch participation by K-3 students comparing fall 2007 to the same period in 2006. In these 29 districts, 11,071 more meals were served to K-3 students between September and November 2007.
Participation in free, reduced-price, and full-priced school breakfast and lunch programs will continue to be monitored.
Featured: Winter 2008
Students eligible for reduced-price meals