LIVINGSTON — While school officials here are celebrating huge increases in breakfast participation, a school board member questions whether the district can keep up the numbers.
Across the district, participation in school breakfast is up 46 percent this year, according to the annual child nutrition report.
From late drop-offs to awkward cafeteria lines, there was always a reason kids in Livingston Parish weren't eating breakfast on campus.
The increases have come as schools made the meal more appealing by feeding kids in their classrooms or offering them a mid-morning break and a bagged breakfast. The schools have also been able to offer the food for free, because all students in the district get no-cost meals through 2021, due to the August 2016 flood.
The programs are popular in the schools that have implemented them and have been a revenue boost for the district, which gets full reimbursement from the federal government for each meal.
But Denham Springs-area School Board Member Buddy Mincey Jr. questioned at a committee meeting earlier this week if the school could keep up the programs when many students have to start paying for food again.
"The programs are great, but it also creates a little bit of a dependency, too. There's going to be a vacuum when that goes away," Mincey said.
Child nutrition officials said they plan to make a major push to get people to apply for free or reduced price lunch before the deadline in a few years. They are also talking with other districts about meal cards the students can use to charge breakfast.
French Settlement High School and North Corbin Junior High School saw the highest increases in breakfast participation of any school in the state this year, according to the report.