NSBA Director Neil Putnam joins Rep. Noem in calling for flexibility in school lunch programs

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (R-ND) today issued a press release on the need for greater flexibility in the regulations governing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Rep. Noem expressed concern after a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report showed participation in the National School Lunch Program declined by 1.4 million children during the 2010-11 and 2013-14 school years. The report concluded “new federal nutrition requirements contributed to the decrease.”

National School Boards Association Director Neil Putnam was quoted in Rep. Noem’s release, stating “We want our kids to be served healthy and nutritious foods through the school lunch program, but the issue comes when federal mandates override local decisions by school boards and administrators. We need to give school districts the flexibility to make decisions at the local level that support our students’ overall success and ensure financial resources are not being taken away from instruction.”

The GAO report, which was an update to a study requested by House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Noem, shows a continued decline in school meal program participation since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act took effect in 2010.

In March 2015, Rep. Noem introduced the Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act, which has been endorsed by the National School Boards Association.

For more, read the full press release.

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