SNA Press Releases

SNA Applauds Obama Administration for Commitment to Child Nutrition Programs

 Permanent link

Contact:  Diane Pratt-Heavner, School Nutrition Association
(301) 686-3124

SNA Applauds Obama Administration for Commitment to Child Nutrition Programs
Rising Costs for School Meals Require Increased Funding

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (October 23, 2009) – Following Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s comments on the upcoming reauthorization of Child Nutrition Programs, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) applauded the Obama Administration for its strong commitment to strengthening the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. 

During a national conference call, Secretary Vilsack specifically acknowledged the work of SNA and school nutrition professionals nationwide while noting the “heavy burden” placed on schools to serve nutritious meals to 31 million children every school day. 

Secretary Vilsack renewed the Administration’s pledge to provide an additional $1 billion to support child nutrition programs and called for increased training opportunities for school nutrition professionals, as well as consistent, national nutrition standards for all foods served during the school day – goals promoted by SNA.
“The Obama Administration clearly recognizes the importance of school meals to the health and academic success of America’s children, and is committed to strengthening under-funded school nutrition programs,” said School Nutrition Association President Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, and executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services for the Dallas Independent School District in Texas.  “The priorities outlined today by Secretary Vilsack strongly reflect recommendations made by the School Nutrition Association over the past year, and we appreciate his understanding.”

The School Nutrition Association has been calling on Congress to increase the school meal reimbursement for all meals to keep pace with rising costs and to provide schools with the support they need to expand offerings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  The Institute of Medicine earlier this week reinforced that need and issued recommendations to increase servings of these healthy items in school meals.

SNA’s 2009 School Nutrition Operations Report found that nationwide, nearly every school district offers students fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and salad bars or pre-packaged salads. School nutrition programs are working hard to provide students with an even greater variety of healthy foods, but they struggle to manage the cost of these enhancements:

  • In Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia, the switch to whole grain buns for sandwiches cost the 12,000 student district nearly $75,000.
  • Last year, Beavercreek City Schools in Ohio (enrollment 8,000) served 87,000 packages of apple slices at a cost of 30 cents a serving.  The apple slices are a more popular and more nutritious choice than canned applesauce, but they are more than double the price and cost the schools about $15,000 more than the canned applesauce.
  • In Polk County Public Schools in Florida, canned green beans run 11 cents a serving, while fresh green beans cost 17 cents a serving.  Multiply the 6 cent difference by 92,000 students, and you spend an additional $5,520 on a side dish, just for one school day.

SNA found that the average cost to prepare and serve a school lunch that meets federal nutritional standards at the start of school year 2008-2009 was $2.92.  The federal reimbursement rate for that free lunch is only $2.68 for school year 2009-2010, leaving financially strapped schools to make up the substantial funding gap.  In a recent survey of school nutrition directors, SNA found that over half of school districts expect to face continued increases in the cost of food, supplies, labor, gas and transportation.

The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.


Bookmark and Share

Report This Web Story