NSBA Applauds Bipartisan Effort to Reauthorize Child Nutrition Act

January 19, 2016

Alexandria, Va. (January 19, 2016) — The National School Boards Association (NSBA), in a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, expressed its qualified support today of the Improving Child Nutrition, Integrity and Access Act of 2016 (ICNIA) in advance of Wednesday’s (1/20/2016) committee markup.

“The Child Nutrition, Integrity and Access Act is an important and promising first step toward incorporating the local school district governance perspective in implementation of school meal programs, and ensuring a healthy and positive learning environment for children to achieve their full potential,” stated Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association, in the letter

The ICNIA would be the first reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act since December 2010, when President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) into law. HHFKA reauthorized six major nutrition programs—including school breakfast and lunch—for five years, and expired on September 30, 2015. It included the most extensive changes to child nutrition programs since the 1970s, and many districts have struggled to meet the new standards and requirements of HHFKA due to its operational and financial impact.

NSBA recognizes the progress in the ICNIA to build local school board governance and flexibility into the administration of the programs, and to abandon a “one-size-fits-all” approach in some instances. Positives include: relief for whole grain and sodium reduction targets, a paid meal equity exemption to reduce unnecessary price increases for unsubsidized meals, a mechanism to address unintended consequences of the competitive foods standards, and restoration of the five-year administrative review cycle. Of concern, however, are provisions of the bill that expand federal authority over local school district operations as a result of requirements for school meal programs.

School districts are critical partners in the effort and NSBA looks forward to working with the Senate and House of Representatives to ensure a final bill that supports children’s and school district success by providing for meaningful and ongoing stakeholder involvement and ensuring flexibility for districts in meeting administrative requirements.

To read the full letter and for more information regarding NSBA’s position on school nutrition, visit our webpage.

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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Learn more at:

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