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Breakfast bill signed into law

Gov. John Hickenlooper Wednesday signed the bill intended to expand student participation in breakfast programs at high-poverty schools. The media event took place at Rose Hill Elementary School in Commerce City and included breakfast in a classroom.

The Adams 14 district, where Rose Hill is located, has been a leader in providing breakfast to all students after the school day starts.

The new law would require that schools with 80 percent of more students eligible for free- and reduced-price meals to serve breakfast after school starts and to all students, even those not individually eligible. Advocates for the bill argued that serving breakfast after the bell rings would increase participation and that serving all students would ease the embarrassment some low-income students feel when they’re the only ones eating.

The bill was backed by a collation of mostly health-related groups, including the Colorado Health Foundation, the Colorado Children’s Campaign and LiveWell Colorado, plus the Colorado Education Association. Other education groups had issues with the bill, primarily about possible extra costs. After the first year the program threshold drops to 70 percent, and some districts believe that schools below the 80 percent level won’t be fully reimbursed by the federal school nutrition program.

Get more details in this legislative staff summary and read the final text of the bill. You also can get more information from the advocates at HungerFreeColorado.org.

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