Saving Money by Closing Summer Schools Costs Kids’ Meals

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Budget cuts have forced many California school districts to eliminate, and as a result, 2 million low-income children (84%) who benefited from federally-funded school meals during the regular academic year don’t get them.

This continues a California trend marked by a 50% decline in federal summer meals over the last decade, according to a study of state Department of Education data done by California Food Policy Advocates. Around 800,000 students participated in 2002; only 400,000 in 2011. The state missed out on $34 million in federal funding last year due to low participation in summer nutrition programs when average daily participation declined by 21,000 students between 2010 and 2011.

The decline in summer school has been accompanied by drops in summer enrichment programs and a shift away from year-round multi-track academic calendars. Approximately 15,000 students attended year-round schools last year that may have had summer programs, compared to 1.3 million in 2003.

Some school districts, like Riverside County, have shifted to other programs like the federally-funded Seamless Summer and the Summer Food Service. Others have tried innovative approaches like Santa Barbara’s food trucks that travel to local parks. But no one is suggesting that these piecemeal attempts are filling the food gap that summer school programs used to occupy.

–Ken Broder 


To Learn More:

School’s Out. . . .Who Ate? (by Matthew Sharp and Tia Shimada, California Food Policy Advocates) (pdf)

Some School Districts Try to Fill Growing Summer Nutrition Gap (by Susan Frey, EdSource)

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