Rep. Cherylin Peniston, D-Westminster, announced today that she will introduce a bill to restore funding to the Colorado Department of Education's free breakfast program. Republican members of the Joint Budget Committee last week thought $125,000 for the breakfast program would be a good place to start cutting expenses to make up for major tax-revenue shortfalls this year.
SB 059 creates the Smart Start nutrition program and fund to pay the costs of eliminating the copayment for those students who currently qualify for reduced-price breakfasts under the school breakfast program. This revised Opportunity Note reflects amendments to the bill.
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SB 07-059 represents a net opportunity gain for Colorado. It will make it more affordable for low-income students to participate in the school breakfast program. Research has consistently found that students who participate in the program have more nutritious diets, do better academically and have fewer behavioral problems. Initial data shows that eliminating the co-pay for reduced price breakfasts has proven effective at expanding access to school breakfasts in Washington state.