Legislation – SNA Legislative Position Paper
2011 Issue Paper
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) greatly appreciates the Child Nutrition Reauthorization enacted by the 111th Congress (Public Law 111-296). This new statute will allow schools to improve the nutritional environment, reduce unrelated expenses, increase reimbursement rates and make other important changes to the programs. We thank the Congress for its continuing support of child nutrition and for recognizing that nutrition is linked to good health, academic achievement and national security.
This year, we ask Congress to consider the following recommendations to compliment last year's legislation:
- Section 205 of the new statute, “Equity in School Lunch Pricing” will require, for the first time since 1946 (when the National School Lunch Act was signed), that the Secretary establish a federal minimum price for the paid meal regardless of local economic circumstances. This provision has the potential to fundamentally change the structure of the program and reduce participation. SNA asks the Congress to test this change with a pilot program in a limited number of schools with a report back to Congress before it becomes national policy.
- Section 307 of Public Law 111-296 requires the Secretary to determine which expenses (“indirect costs”) incurred by a local school can be charged to the nonprofit school food service account. SNA requests that the Congress follow up with the Secretary to guarantee that only those expenses “necessary to provide meals under the Act” are paid from the school food service account.
- USDA currently provides commodities to support the school lunch program, but does not provide commodities to support the school breakfast program. As a part of the next Farm Bill, SNA is seeking USDA commodity support for the breakfast program. Ten cents per breakfast in USDA commodities would support agriculture and assist the school breakfast program.
- Food Service Management Companies provide meal services in many school districts, but there is little effective federal oversight. Neither the local school districts nor the States have the resources or expertise to properly review and monitor these very expensive and complicated contracts. Therefore, to ensure compliance with the Act and protect Federal funds, SNA requests that Congress give USDA the authority, in coordination with the states, to review and monitor compliance of all bids and contracts between local school districts and for-profit food service management companies. SNA also requests that the Congress require the Secretary to develop a standard contract that school districts may use between local school districts and food service management companies.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has over 50,000 professional members who administer the federal school nutrition programs at the state and local level.