BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Expansion of Community Eligibility Reaches Milestone
Today’s the deadline for states to publish lists of schools and school districts eligible next school year for “community eligibility,” which allows schools in high-poverty areas to help address child hunger by serving meals at no charge to all students. The option, now available in 11 states, will expand nationwide this fall for school districts that elect it by June 30. The map below links to the lists that 28 states have issued so far; more states will likely publish information today.
As we’ve explained, community eligibility has led to a striking increase in the number of children in high-poverty areas eating school breakfast and lunch. Schools in Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan that adopted community eligibility for two years found that lunch participation rose by 13 percent and breakfast participation rose by 25 percent, with 29,000 more children eating breakfast daily.