Athens Review, Athens, Texas

August 22, 2013

MISD offers free student breakfast

Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review

Athens — Malakoff Independent School District is preparing their students for the new school year, even through their nutrition.

MISD Superintendent Randy Perry said it’s important for students to get what they need before they even enter the classroom.  That’s why the MISD Board of Trustees voted to provide free breakfast for all students of any school in their district.

“This was brought before our board, on Aug. 19 by food service director, Tanya Berry,” Perry said. “This is an extension of the free and reduced lunch. The percentage that have actually been getting free breakfasts has not been what it should be.  We want to make sure we give all of them healthy meals. We want to make them prepared going into the classroom. It’s an opportunity to do something good for our students.”

Perry, into  his third year as MISD Superintendent, said it will be absolutely mandated in the year 2015, for districts that have 50-percent economically-disadvantaged students.  He reports that MISD had 66 percent last year.

“We have campuses that are close to 70 percent,” he said. “Tool Elementary has the most disadvantaged in our district.”

Food Service Director Tanya Berry, who has not even entered her first year of employment with MISD until this year, addressed the Board of Trustees.  She basically told them that MISD needs more active participation in the Universal Breakfast Program.

“We get reimbursements from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the USDA,” she said. “We get reimbursements for the amount of kids we have on free and reduced programs.”

She said that under the approved program, all students are affected.

“Regardless of family income, everyone can eat healthy,” she said.

Berry said that parents can pick up applications at their children’s schools, or they can receive them at Meet the Teachers Nights at various campuses in the district. Their meeting schedules are on the MISD websites.

“I’ll have all cafeteria managers to be at the Meet the Teachers Nights,” Berry said. “Increasing breakfast participation increases discipline in the classroom, and provides food they need first thing in the morning.  Research shows they make better grades and attendance.”