NSBA Supports Rep. Noem’s Legislation Offering More Flexibility for Local School Meal Programs

March 19, 2015

Alexandria, Va. (March 19, 2015) - The National School Boards Association (NSBA) supports the Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act, to provide school districts with greater flexibility to ensure students receive healthy, nutritious school meals.

Sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), and introduced today, the legislation offers school districts relief from costly and onerous mandates imposed by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and subsequent federal regulations.

“Our public schools are committed to providing healthy, nutritious meals for all students, but overly prescriptive and unnecessary federal mandates are proving challenging for school boards to meet and are raising meal costs that can then divert resources from the instructional program,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel.

School districts serve lunch to 30 million children, and many districts have struggled to meet new federal standards for school meals and competitive foods, including increasingly stringent rules on calorie limits, whole grain content, and sodium reduction.

The Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act would provide school districts with greater flexibility in complying with these mandates. While the intent was laudable, these rules are responsible for soaring operational costs, wasted food, and reduced student participation.

Rep. Noem’s bill is particularly important in light of the pending reauthorization of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act by Congress this year. NSBA urges Congress to restore local leadership and flexibility to federal school meal policies, and to provide sufficient federal resources to school districts in a modernized law.

NSBA’s Deputy Associate Executive Director Lucy Gettman added, “We appreciate that Rep. Noem’s legislation includes recommendations from NSBA and school boards across the nation that will continue to support efforts to provide highly nutritious meals to students—but provides schools with more flexibility to meet local needs.”

To see what school boards are saying about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, see NSBA’s Pulse Poll on School Meal Requirements.  (

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