Sausage-wrapped-in-pancake on a stick took center stage this morning when Morris Bye Elementary School kids had “breakfast fit for a king” – or at least fit for a governor.
That’s because Gov. Mark Dayton served students that item as part of the nutritious “grab-n-go” breakfast offered in the school cafeteria.
Other menu items included fresh strawberries and grapes, yogurt, cheese sticks, muffins, cold cereal, fruit juice and milk.
“We always have good breakfast at school and I really like the governor, so I asked him for an autograph,” said student Emily Flattem, smiling proudly and showing off the governor’s signature written on her wrist.
The governor – accompanied by Sen. Alice Johnson and Rep. Jerry Newton and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius – stopped by the Coon Rapids school to serve breakfast to celebrate new investments in school breakfast and lunch programs.
That investment, $4 million funding signed into law two weeks ago, will help 125,000 kids access healthy meals in school. One key component of that new law includes $569,000 for an initiative ensuring all 64,000 Minnesota kindergartners have access to a healthy breakfast, free of charge.
Johnson and Newton authored that provision.
“Giving food to a child will help reduce absenteeism, reduce visits to the nurse’s office … it will increase focus and concentration, close the achievement gap, increase graduation rates,” said Johnson. “I’m glad to be here to celebrate this step in the journey.”
After helping to serve breakfast, Newton thanked the governor and legislators who worked to ensure that children can get breakfast and, as a result, get a great start to the school day.
In addition to providing breakfast for every kindergartner, the new law also includes $3.5 million for the school lunch program. That funding will help ensure 61,000 students from low-income families have access to healthy meals at lunchtime.
As for summer provisions, Cassellius said meal programs are offered district-by-district across the state but there is currently no statewide meal program.
Dayton said his ultimate goal is to be sure no child is denied a good, healthy meal.
“If I’m around next year, I’ll make that a priority,” the governor said.
Sue Austreng is at