BEYOND THE NUMBERS
A bill recently introduced in the House severely restricting the community eligibility option, which allows high-poverty schools to provide breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students, could force 7,000 schools across the country to reinstate applications and resume monitoring students’ eligibility in the lunch lines. We’ve organized our list of those 7,000 schools — which serve nearly 3.4 million students — by congressional district so that residents and their representatives can see which local schools would be affected.
Some of these schools could continue offering community eligibility if their district grouped them with higher-poverty schools that still qualified for the option. (School districts can participate in community eligibility for individual schools, groups of schools, or district-wide.) But it’s impossible to know in advance which schools could continue.
To find the results for your area, click on your state in the map below. This spreadsheet has the complete list of affected schools.
Community eligibility simplifies administration of school meal programs so high-poverty schools can shift resources from paperwork to higher-quality meals or other educational priorities. It also improves access to nutritious breakfasts and lunches for low-income students by eliminating applications and the stigma that sometimes accompanies free meals. Increased meal participation, in turn, improves student achievement, diets, and behavior.
Members of Congress should consider the impact in low-income communities in their district and state before supporting this cut.