A new report shows New Jersey's school breakfast program has slumped, serving 4 percent fewer low-income students.

The Food Research and Action Center's "school breakfast scorecard" found the decline means Jersey schools are now serving 10,600 fewer needy children.

Cecilia Zalkind, of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, says it has been shown that schools serving breakfast after the bell reach more students.

"It is so disappointing to see us slipping back," she said.

"I think that it comes down to one simple thing: It is where and when you serve breakfast, and our campaign has shown over and over again that districts that serve breakfast after the bell in the classroom reach more kids. That has been the key to success in New Jersey. It does not cost any state money. In fact, it brings federal money into the state."

Zalkind says they are working with lawmakers.

"We are exploring this idea of requiring schools with 70 percent or more eligible kids to be required to serve breakfast after the bell," she said. Schools with 20 percent or more eligible students are required to serve breakfast but can do so before the school day.

"Some schools must overcome issues such as instructional time and even garbage removal to get to the after-the-bell model."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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