The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is encouraging the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations to provide funding for school kitchen equipment modernization and flexibility for school districts struggling with child nutrition regulations. Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of NSBA, sent a letter today regarding NSBA’s concerns on school meals to Appropriations committee members before they consider FY 2015 appropriations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The vote on this is expected to happen on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
The letter notes:
The National School Boards Association (NSBA), representing more than 90,000 local school board members across the nation, working with and through our state school boards associations, writes to express support for local school district flexibility and modest regulatory relief for school meal programs in the FY 2015 Appropriations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Students need healthy meals and adequate nutrition to achieve their potential in the classroom, and school board members are committed to ensuring all students are prepared to learn. However, school boards cannot ignore the higher costs and operational issues created by
mandates in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (PL 111-296). Therefore, NSBA supports two important measures in the legislation that the Committee will consider on May 29, 2014:
• NSBA supports the appropriation of $25 million for school meal equipment grants, which will help schools prepare and serve healthier meals, and improve food safety.
• NSBA also supports a provision requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a process by which a state shall grant a temporary waiver from compliance with national nutrition standards.
The waiver provision offers relief to school districts from some of the federal mandates that have led to soaring operational costs along with other unintended consequences, such as plate waste and reduced participation.
NSBA looks forward to working with Congress and the Secretary to assure that school districts can successfully comply with the law and also serve the very best meals and provide excellent nutrition to children.