We did it! Oregon goes further than any other state to create Hunger-Free Schools

by Matt Newell-Ching

Together, we made history.

Oregon will go further than any state in the nation to ensure students have access to breakfast and lunch at school.

The Hunger-Free Schools provisions were signed into law by Governor Kate Brown on May 16 as part of the landmark Student Success Act, which addresses decades of disinvestment in Oregon’s schools. The Act includes new investments in early childhood, reducing class sizes, providing mental and behavioral support services, career technical education, culturally-specific student success plans, and more.

We did this together by building a strong coalition of supporters making the case that school meals are a critical element of student success.

The provision has three main components:

  • It will more than double the number of schools with universal school meals. We estimate that three in five students will attend a school serving meals to all kids at no charge. Kids at these schools will no longer feel singled out for eating school meals, and research shows that’s great for student achievement.
  • For the remainder of schools, Oregon will raise income eligibility to match eligibility for children’s health insurance. This will support working families who currently earn just too much to qualify but still need assistance.
  • Oregon will standardize the best practice of offering breakfast after the bell to students at schools with high rates of poverty. This means more students will have access to school breakfast, which is linked to higher attendance and graduation rates, and higher incomes later in life.

All of these changes will start of the school year in the fall of 2020.