Tuesday Morning - March 6, 2018

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

2018 Legislative Action Conference Recap
USDA Announces Hiring Flexibility for Small School Districts
USDA Issues Request for Comments on Dietary Guidelines
USDA Ends HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) Award Program

State Snapshots

Louisiana Unpaid Meals and Reporting Requirements
Hawaii On Site Compositing Bill Passes House
Iowa Unpaid Meals Bill

Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association Webinars
Food Research and Action Center Webinars

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

>2018 Legislative Action Conference Recap

SNA’s 2018 Legislative Action Conference started Sunday, March 4th and ends today, Tuesday, March 6th, when 900 school nutrition professionals will storm the Hill in defense of school nutrition programs! Here’s a quick recap of the event-packed conference.

The first day of the conference featured an opening luncheon followed by a keynote address by political pundits Peter Hart and Frank Luntz. Hart and Luntz provided some political party banter, offering jokes along with their expert insights into the current political landscape and the 2018 midterm elections. Members loved the two men’s senses of humor as they discussed some tough topics and looked at some statistical data and public polling results. Later that afternoon, another General Session featured Dr. Keith Ayoob who discussed the strong connection between breakfast and academic performance. All speakers, as well as that day’s breakout sessions like LAC 101: Strategies for Successful Hill Visits and Mastering Forecasting- How to Effectively Utilize All Your Entitlement, provided valuable information to members to take to the Hill with them on Tuesday.

The second day of LAC kicked off with an informational USDA 2018 Update, where several officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture discussed child nutrition program activities, research, USDA Foods and other relevant topics. Recent and new regulations guidance was announced. This was followed by a presentation from Rebecca Vallas from the Center for American Progress and Sharon Parrott from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Block Grants. Their presentations provided a deep dive into the reasons why block grants don’t work and are bad news for school nutrition programs.

SNA was very excited to host Deputy Secretary Steve Censky during the final General Session on Monday afternoon. Prior to providing remarks to attendees, Deputy Secretary Censky met with the SNA Executive Committee and the SNA Public Policy and Legislation Committee for a discussion about the policies and regulations that are working and those that are hindering school nutrition programs. The conference ended with the presentation of the SNA 2018 Position Paper and Charge the Hill. From extensive detail about each position on the 2018 Position Paper and why it was chosen, to important tips for talking to Members of Congress, the presentation was packed with critical information necessary for effective Hill visits.

The last day of the conference, today, Tuesday, March 6, members are taking everything they learned from their time at the conference and their extensive knowledge of school nutrition programs to Capitol Hill to advocate for sound policy that keep their students fed and ready to learn in the classroom!

USDA Announces Hiring Flexibility for Small School Districts

The USDA Food and Nutrition Services have proposed a Rule adding four flexibilities to the hiring standards for new school nutrition program directors in small local educational agencies (LEAs) and new school nutrition program State directors under the professional standards regulations.

The Rule is intended to address hiring challenges faced by small school districts when searching for qualified applicants.  “Small and rural school districts will no longer have to overlook qualified food service professionals because of one-size-fits-all standards that don’t meet their needs.” said Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Steve Censky.

USDA is providing a 60-day public comment period before they develop the Final Rule. You can read the USDA press release here.

USDA Issues Request for Comments on Dietary Guidelines

In a Federal Register notice released on February 28, 2018 the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that they were collecting written comments on the topics and questions to be examined in the review of scientific evidence supporting the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are to be published at least every five years, as required in the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990. The Dietary Guidelines provide food and nutrition advice for Americans ages two years and older to promote health and help prevent chronic disease. SNA will be putting together a task force to address comments to be submitted. Topics and questions are available online, and comments are due March 30, 2018 and can be submitted here.

USDA Ends HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) Award Program

The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) Award Program has inspired and assisted thousands of schools in implementing the school meal patterns in an exemplary manner since 2004. Over 10,700 awards have been given to schools since the program’s inception almost 15 years ago. The USDA announced in a letter to State Agencies and National Partners of the Program that they will no longer be accepting applications for HUSSC in an effort to avoid duplicating the efforts of the private sector. The program will run through the end of the 2017-2018 school year and any applications submitted by June 30, 2018 will be reviewed for approval. The final set of awards will be announced by the USDA National Office by December 31, 2018. A HUSSC webinar will be hosted by USDA on March 13, 2018 to provide additional guidance.

State Snapshots

Louisiana Unpaid Meals and Reporting Requirements

HB 284 requires a school to report the number of alternative meals served to a student with unpaid meal debt to the Department of Children and Family Services, the House Education Committee, and the Senate Committee on Education. The bill also requires steps for determining eligibility and notification of debt.

Hawaii On Site Compositing Bill Passes House

HB 2025 establishes a composting grant pilot project in Department of Education schools and appropriates funds. The bill passed the state House on Friday, March 2.

Iowa Unpaid Meals Bill

HF 2467, introduced February 27th, requires schools to provide a reimbursable meal to any student that requests one, regardless of their ability to pay. The bill also specifies debt notification and collection practices.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars.

Register Now:
Community Eligibility Series, Part 2: Making It Work With ISPs Below 60%
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 2:00 pm ET
SNA and the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) have partnered to bring you this webinar. Learn how other districts have operated community eligibility with ISPs below 60% to see if you can make it work in your district.
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Registration Coming Soon:
Best of #SNIC18: When it Comes to Food and Ingredients, What Do Consumers Really Want?
Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 2:00 pm ET
Good value. Convenient. Clean label. Locally sourced. What do consumers really want? Join strategic nutrition marketer Mark Cornthwaite who will help you uncover different consumer segments, their specific needs and how you can address those needs as a school nutrition program operator or industry professional.
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Community Eligibility Series, Part 3: Strategies for Partial Implementation
Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 2:00 pm ET
SNA and the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) have partnered to bring you this webinar. Learn more about the flexibility of school districts in implementing CEP.
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Food Research & Action Center Webinars

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) provides their Meals Matter Webinar Series to assist school nutrition operators in their meal programs.

Streamlining and Simplifying the Afterschool Meal Program
Thursday, March 15, 2018, 1:00 pm ET
There are many opportunities to streamline and simplify the process and administrative requirements for schools and sponsors operating multiple child nutrition programs. Learn how states are implementing the streamlining options that are available to them.

Getting the Word Out About Summer Meals
Thursday, April 5, 2018, 1:00 pm ET
State agencies, summer programs, and advocates can boost participation by utilizing different strategies for spreading the word about the availability of summer meals to families leading up to summer and once programs begin. On this call you will hear about effective methods and resources to promote programs, raise awareness, and ensure more families are connected to summer meals this year.

Improving Afterschool Meal Quality and Reducing Waste
Thursday, April 19, 2018, 1:00 pm ET
Healthy, high-quality meals help to attract children to educational and enrichment programming and keep them coming throughout the school year, while also reducing waste. Communicating with vendors, incorporating feedback from children, and farm to school initiatives are just some successful strategies. Join us to learn how afterschool programs, advocates, and community partners can improve meal quality and appeal while being conscious of ways to reduce food waste.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

0 Days Until SNA’s 2018 Legislative Action Conference
Today’s the day! Follow the action live on Twitter with #LAC18. 900 school nutrition professionals are meeting with their Representatives and Senators in defense of sound school nutrition policy that keeps students fed and ready to learn in the classroom.

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