The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has released its 2015 position paper, to be used during this year’s child nutrition reauthorization process. The group is asking for additional flexibilities for what can and can’t be served in school meals and also for increased funding.
Here’s a look at the group’s seven demands:
1. Increase the per-meal reimbursement for both lunch and breakfast by 35 cents. SNA is asking for the increased reimbursement to meet the additional costs incurred meeting provisions required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA).
2. Maintain Target 1 sodium level reductions and suspend implementation of further targets.
3. Allow districts to decide whether students must take a fruit or vegetable as part of a reimbursable meal. SNA says it supports offering increased variety and quantity of fruits and vegetables, but that the half-cup fruit/veggie breakfast requirement is causing increased waste and operational costs.
4. Restore the initial requirement that at least half of grains offered must be whole grain rich. This is at both breakfast and lunch. The current mandate is for 100% of grain items to be whole grain rich. Many districts have had issues with this requirement when it comes to meeting cultural/regional items (think: tortillas) and pastas.
5. Allow all items served as part of a reimbursable meal to be sold as an a la carte item.
6. Modify the Paid Lunch Equity mandate by exempting districts with a positive fund balance at the end of the previous school year. The mandate forces districts to increase paid lunch prices regardless of the program’s financial solvency.
7. Provide program simplification. “As Congress drafts and USDA implements 2015 Child Nutrition Reauthorization, prompt action must be taken to simplify child nutrition programs and ease administrative burdens on [districts] and State Agencies,” SNA wrote in its position paper. “The overwhelming complexity of program regulations and administrative requirements is unnecessarily hindering efforts to better serve students.”