How the Breakfast Program Works

by Jessica Cervantez

It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, the state is concerned about the use of federally funded school breakfast programs in Houston. The district is accused of inflating the number of students eating meals to get more reimbursement from the state.

But at Central Independent School District they say their program's numbers reflect exactly the number of children who eat breakfast.

Linda Burgess, the nutrition director for the Central Independent School District, says not only is breakfast the best way to start out the day, but they also depend on that reimbursement money.

Burgess said, "We do get reimbursement for each child that eats breakfast, mainly because the government is trying to encourage each child to eat breakfast."

Burgess says their computer system that tally up the number of students served has little room for error.

"We are computerized so as each child goes by to the line, they give us their number and we key it in. Then the computer does a printout of how many ate breakfast," Burgess said.

The school receives thousands of dollars in reimbursement. But getting a little something in the student's stomach is what's important, that's why having free and reduced breakfast is a necessity.

"If you eat it, you'll be smart," said one young student.

Burgess said, "Some schools are as high as 98% free and reduced, we're only 45% right now, but we have seen an increase from 41% to 45% this year."

As years go by, Burgess is noticing an increase in the number of children who eat breakfast, that is good for the school, and the kids,