Wisconsin is no longer the worst state in providing free breakfast to low-income school kids.

The Badger State had that distinction for nine years until today (Tuesday) when the Food Research and Action Center put us at No. 46.

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The number of Wisconsin school kids getting free breakfasts in the last year went up 25 percent, highest among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The main reason is that about 60 Milwaukee schools started offering universal free breakfast. Even so, just 36 percent of eligible youngsters get free breakfasts in Wisconsin schools.

And the state ranks second to last in the percentage of schools offering the meals, at just over 60. The national average is 85 percent.

Federal money pays most of the tab, but the new state budget raised Wisconsin's share from 8 cents a meal to about 13 cents.

Milwaukee taxpayers added $1 million for that city's program.

A few years ago, Gov. Jim Doyle wanted to mandate free breakfasts in all Wisconsin schools. But Republicans who ran the Legislature at the time said that's the parents' job, not government's.