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updated: 5/22/2012 1:06 AM

U-46 to offer breakfast carts in middle, high schools

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Students in Elgin Area School District U-46 will be asking their parents for more than just lunch money next year now that the district plans to introduce breakfast carts at all middle and high schools.

First piloted at South Elgin High School, breakfast carts provide students an opportunity to purchase items such as milk, cereal, breakfast bars and juice during study hall hours.

The breakfast cart was one of the initiatives highlighted in a food services presentation to the board of education Monday.

Claudie Phillips, director of food services in U-46, said although breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, students often leave home without eating and do not eat until their lunch period.

"We are really capturing that market," Phillips said. "You go into schools, and you see kids there, but they are not eating. It is not cool for a middle school or high school student to go through the line. We are bringing them choices and giving them options."

A $2,500 grant from the Midwest Dairy Council was used to purchase and stock the first cart. South Elgin will receive a second cart in the fall. The funds for the newest carts are coming from the district's budget. Phillips said the funds would have been used to purchase items available from the cafeteria.

The concept got the thumbs-up from Diana Castillo, the student adviser to the board of education. Diana, a junior at Larkin High School, said students would be able to concentrate longer if they could eat breakfast every day, which would make teachers happy.

"I think students would buy things," Diana said. "A lot of students have to wait a long time before lunch and they get hungry. I know I get hungry."

Another initiative that will be expanded beginning in the fall is the district's Breakfast in the Classroom. The program provides free a breakfast for eligible students at one middle and nine elementary schools.

"Teachers are very excited about it, and it is amazing what can happen when you get so much support," Phillips said. "We want kids to perform better and research shows that students who eat breakfast perform better."

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