President Obama signed the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization on Dec. 13, at a Washington elementary school flanked by students, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and First Lady Michelle Obama, who has advocated for healthier school meals.
The new law, however, could be problematic for school districts because the amount of new federal funding, estimated at about 6 cents per meal, will not cover the estimated 11 to 25 cent cost to comply with the new standards, and does not increase the allotment for the school breakfast program at all, according to NSBA. Further, the bill requires new training for school cafeteria workers and other requirements that could be problematic for school districts to implement. (read a more detailed summary of NSBA’s concerns, here).
NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant has issued this statement:
“NSBA applauds President Obama’s recognition that schools are a vital partner in child nutrition; however, it is disappointing that the child nutrition act does not provide adequate funding for local school districts to comply with the new requirements. This new law will challenge schools’ ability to provide school nutrition by adding a new funding burden for schools at a time when there are critical budget shortfalls. It is imperative that the Obama administration work closely with school district representatives to implement the new child nutrition regulations to mitigate the negative consequences for students and schools.”
NSBA’s advocacy team plans to work with the Secretary of Agriculture to help develop regulations for the new law.