The National School Breakfast Program (SBP) began in 1966 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), initially as a two-year pilot. In its first year, the program served 80,000 children. In 1975, the program was permanently authorized by Congress, and today serves over 14 million children every year. Over 800,000 of those children are in Florida, giving the state the third highest participation rate in the nation, after California and Texas.
In Florida, the School Breakfast Program is administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). All public elementary schools across the state are required to implement the program. Schools with 80 percent or more of the students eligible for free or reduced-price meals must provide breakfast at no cost to all students. All meals served must meet federal meal requirements, although specific food decisions are made at the local level.
Today, schools across the nation are striving to meet a goal of 70 free and reduced-price students participating in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) for every 100 participating in the School Lunch Program (NSLP). For the 2016-2017 school year, Florida had achieved 51.1 per 100, forgoing millions of dollars in additional federal funding available with increased participation. This gap represents over a quarter million students.