Advocacy

NSBA’s Position on School Nutrition

Elementary school children eating in a cafeteria

Houston ISD/Dave Einsel: http://www.houstonisd.org

NSBA Opposes Unfunded Mandates for School Districts Regarding School Nutrition

At a time when education is acknowledged as a priority for America’s success and competitiveness, NSBA believes that it is imperative that federal policy—including implementation of the child nutrition reauthorization—assures that educational systems are supported, not undermined by unfunded mandates or under-resourced requirements.

Current school nutrition law (The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, or HHFKA) imposes new responsibilities on school districts without sufficient federal funding and resources. Some provisions of the bill redirect financial resources from elsewhere in the district to the school food authority or shift additional costs to students and their families.

For school districts already forced to make budget cuts, these financial decisions create a dilemma. New costs result in unfunded or underfunded mandates under the new law and will result in the loss of programs, jobs, or both at the local level.

NSBA urges the Administration to ensure that implementation of HHFKA:

  • is cost neutral to school districts;
  • involves school boards and school governance representatives in the design and policy for implementation; and
  • phases in provisions of the bill in a manner that reflects the academic, operational and financial circumstances of school districts.

NSBA does not support additional regulations or mandates on schools outside of the federally subsidized school lunch and breakfast programs. We therefore support new legislation HR 1504, The Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act, which would restore local flexibility and authority to school districts struggling to comply with some provisions of HHFKA. HR 1504 has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

What You Can Do

  1. Write a letter to your Representative and Senators in support of HR 1504. Recruit at least two other school board members to do the same. Use NSBA’s Legislative Action Center to find your elected officials by zip code.
  2. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper detailing the need to revamp school nutrition legislation. Learn how to write to the media.
  3. Encourage your local school board members to contact Congress and ask them to help move H.R. 1504 forward through the legislative process. Here’s how to contact your Representatives and Senators.
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