More Hungry Students in California Schools

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 The number of CUSD students participating in the free and reduced lunch program hovered for years at about 37 percent, said CUSD’s Janet Brinson, and eventually climbed to 47.53 percent for the 2012-13 school year.

Likewise, the state Department of Education reported earlier this month that the number of California children participating in free school breakfast programs increased by 63,000 in 2012 over 2011. California's School Breakfast Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and open to children who already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. About 1.3 million children in the state participate in breakfast programs.

In Chico, meanwhile, the number of English-language learners has been dropping over the past five years. There are almost 1,300 English-language learners in the local school district, according to the California Department of Education’s DataQuest website.

The number is dropping as students become English-fluent, and probably also reflects a drop in the number of new immigrant families in the area.