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Breakfast program to continue at MES

Article Date: 
6 July, 2012 (All day)

The Morgan County School Board voted to continue serving breakfast to Morgan Elementary Students in the 2012-2013 year.  Morgan Elementary was the first school in the district to offer a breakfast program.  After watching the program closely, board members and other district administrators said they may consider offering a similar program at Morgan Middle School.
In its initial year of offering a breakfast program, Morgan Elementary School ended up serving 9,537 breakfasts.  Of those, 43 percent was served to students who qualify for free lunch, and another 13 percent was served to those qualifying for reduced school lunch.  Around 100 breakfast meals were served to preschoolers.
On average, the school was serving 52 breakfast meals a day, Morgan Elementary Tim Wolff said. 
“We felt it was very, very successful,” Wolff said.
A survey of parents revealed “strong support” for the breakfast program, he said. The school received 300 surveys, representing 37 percent of campus. The survey concluded that a majority of students using the breakfast program eat less than three times per week, and the reason for parents feeding their students breakfast at school ranged from actual need to convenience. 
Wolff said the survey also indicated confusion regarding the funding source for the breakfast program.
Although he can’t definitively link the breakfast program to improved student health, Wolff said he noticed less traffic to the school nurse’s office, especially in the early part of the school day.
“There are less kids coming in saying, ‘I don’t feel good,’” he said.  “More than one teacher said kids are more focused in the morning.”
Breakfasts added up to a $13,000 cost.  After receiving federal reimbursement funds for the program, the district broke even, District Business Administrator D’Lynn Poll said. 
Due to new nutritional guidelines, specifically regarding the amount of fresh fruit to serve on each tray, district administrators would like to hold off on initiating the program at any additional schools.  Mountain Green Elementary Principal Tom McFarland said parents at his school are not ready for a similar program.  However, Morgan Middle School Principal Terry Allen expressed some interest.