Created: 08/07/2014 7:40 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 News) -- There's no question that healthy eating leads to better learning, and that's one of the driving factors behind some changes coming this year to the Austin School District food service program.
“It's a basic need to make sure that you are well fed and you are not spending your time in school focusing on when do I get to eat next or how do I take care of those hunger pains," said principal Sheila Berger at Sumner elementary school in Austin.
“We have two major changes. The first is that breakfast is now going to be free to all students, regardless of income and regardless of eligibility," said Austin School District food service director Mary Weikum.
Breakfast has been available to all students, but those whose families didn't qualify for free or reduced price lunch based on income were charged a fee.
"We really have decided as a district it is important for the kids to start the day with a healthy breakfast," Weikum said.
And in a school district like Austin, where most kids qualify for free or reduced price lunch, "last year we were in the 60 to 70 percent range," Weikum explained.
More families will benefit from a new state fund that will pay the 40 cents families are required to pay for meals when they qualify for reduced price lunch.
"So our district will still receive that 40 cents, but instead of coming from the family it will come from state government," Weikum said.
Because if a student isn’t worried about being hungry
“They can focus their energy on reading, writing and math," Berger said.