Tuesday Morning - May 9, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Share Your Thoughts: Increasing Verification Response Rate
Child Nutrition Program Waiver Request Guidance and Protocol Memo
Accommodating Disabilities in the School Meal Programs: Guidance and Questions and Answers 
Congress Passes $1 Trillion Spending Bill
SNA Commends USDA in Supporting School Meal Flexibility

State Snapshots

Hawaii Unpaid Meals Bill
2017 First Quarter State Legislative Summary

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC Meals Matter Calls

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Share Your Thoughts: Increasing Verification Response Rate

USDA wants to hear from SNA members and is hosting a challenge around verification response rates. This challenge is an opportunity to take advantage of a national platform to share your success stories and your great ideas on how to increase household response rates in the annual school meals verification process!

Submit a short video clip, write a short story, or maybe a comic strip version of your ideas; submissions of all types are welcome. SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays and FNS Deputy Administrator for Child Nutrition, Cindy Long, are leading the judging panel, and FNS will highlight the winning submissions at SNA’s 2017 Annual National Conference in Atlanta, Ga.

The Verification Response Rate Challenge is part of a broader effort by FNS, working with SNA members, to test changes in verification materials and communication protocols. Through this joint effort our organizations are making tangible progress to increase verification response rates and reduce the risk of benefit loss by eligible households. We also see this challenge as essential to our combined commitment to improving outcomes and protecting the integrity of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.

The challenge runs through June 15th. So, take a few minutes to share your thoughts on how to increase household response rates, and forward this message to your peers around the country whose insights might also prove valuable! Look at the challenge for additional details and to submit your ideas.

Child Nutrition Program Waiver Request Guidance and Protocol Memo

USDA released a memorandum to provide guidance for state agencies requesting waivers of program requirements for child nutrition programs. These programs include the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Summer Food Program (SFSP), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). The intent of the memo is to ensure that waiver requests that are submitted are complete and that data demonstrating the outcomes of waived requirements are reported to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Therefore, the memo outlines statutory waiver authority, the waiver request and review process, data reporting requirements, and a revised version of the Child Nutrition Program Waiver Request Template. States are encouraged to use the template for waiver requests for programs to ensure that all required information is submitted. If they choose not to use the template, they must ensure that all components in the template are addressed.

Accommodating Disabilities in the School Meal Programs: Guidance and Questions and Answers

A Q&A memorandum was released by USDA to provide guidance related to accommodating disabilities in school meal programs. The Q&A highlights common situations that have occurred in the past and are intended to give general direction on what local educational agencies (LEAs), school food authorities (SFAs) and schools must do to comply with federal law and make sure that students with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in school meal programs. The questions are divided into several categories: General Information; What is a Disability; Procedural Safeguards; Requesting a Modification; Making a Meal Modification; Reimbursement for Modified Meals; Accommodations to the Meal Service; Non-Disability Situations; and Miscellaneous. The Q&A memo is meant to be a companion piece to SP 59-2016: Policy Memorandum on Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the School Meal Programs, which was released in September 2016. Situations should be treated on a case-by-case basis, and if SFAs or schools have questions, they should be directed to the state agency.

Congress Passes $1 Trillion Spending Bill

On Wednesday, May 3, the House passed a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through September, which is the end of the fiscal year. The legislation passed on a 309-118 vote, then went to the Senate where it was passed on Thursday in a 79-18 vote. The legislation then went to President Donald Trump, who signed it into law, thus preventing a government shutdown before the Friday night deadline. A spending agreement was originally due in October, so Congress is seven months late. As stated last week, the spending bill includes $22.8 billion in required mandatory spending for child nutrition programs, which is $644 million more than in the previous fiscal year. View the full text of the bill.

SNA Commends USDA in Supporting School Meal Flexibility

SNA joined USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue as he released an interim rule seeking regulatory flexibility for school meal programs. Today's commitment by Secretary Perdue addresses concerns raised in SNA's 2017 Position Paper , which requested maintaining Target 1 sodium levels and restoring the initial requirement that at least half of grains offered through school meals be whole grain rich.

Read more about the USDA interim rule and SNA response in this SNA Press Release

State Snapshots

Hawaii Unpaid Meals Bill

SB 423 has passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor. The bill would prohibit denying a free/reduced category student a meal for the first 30 days of the school year or the first week that the student carries an unpaid meal balance. The bill also authorizes the Department of Education to adopt rules or policies on the collection of funds for negative student meal balances.

2017 First Quarter State Legislative Summary

SNA’s first quarter 2017 State Legislative Summary is now available. The attached report contains a status update of the 2017 school nutrition bills introduced in all 50 state legislatures. Find out what’s brewing in your state and get a bird's-eye view of the trending issues nationwide such as donation of surplus foods, unpaid meal balance legislation, and local foods.

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.

Versatile Fruit: Made on American Farms for Kids in Our Schools
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Learn about delicious and versatile fruit that can easily be used in schools to meet creditable fruit servings and as allowable snacks that will boost student fruit consumption. Participants will learn about the benefits and impact of farm to school, salad bars and breakfast initiatives on consumption and waste. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Best of #SNIC17 4 of 4: Food Waste: The Latest Movement
Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Learn about the latest movement to stem food waste and take away the latest ideas and innovations from schools and restaurants to help you reduce, reuse and recycle! Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Gimme Some Feedback: Preventing Conflicts Through Constructive Feedback
Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Learn more about constructive feedback and how you can use it to make even the most difficult conversations productive and to prevent conflicts from arising or getting out of hand in your school district or SNA chapter. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

FRAC Meals Matter Calls

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) holds an ongoing series of conference calls to provide assistance on the operations of federal meal programs.

Breakfast Matters Webinar — Back To School
Thursday, May 11, 2017, 3:00 pm EST
The school year is ending, but the planning for the next academic year is already beginning. Get tips and tools for preparing your school district’s food and nutrition service strategies for the 2017–2018 school year. Topics will include forming an unpaid meal policy, making the most of the Community Eligibility Provision, and launching or enhancing your Breakfast After the Bell and afterschool meal programs.

Schools Operating the Afterschool Meals Program in Schools and Beyond
Thursday, May 18, 2017, 1:00 pm EST
Schools are a natural fit for operating the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program, with the foodservice experience, established systems, and educational programming already in place to support successful implementation. By acting as a sponsor, vendor, site, or partnering with community partners, schools can play a huge role in ensuring children have access to the healthy meals they need when school is out while also bringing in more federal reimbursement to support overall operations. Hear from presenters on how to build stronger, more sustainable Afterschool Meal Programs by engaging community partners and serving healthy, kid-friendly meals..


Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to ANC: 61 Days!
For those of you who attended SNA’s 2017 Legislative Action Conference last month, former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman is a familiar face. He was a participant in the “Fireside Chat with Washington Insiders” during the third general session. This was not Glickman’s first time attending an SNA conference however, he also journeyed to Houston for the Association’s 50th anniversary celebration at ANC in 1996. There he reasserted the Clinton Administration’s opposition to block grants and further clarified new nutrition regulations that had been published by the USDA a few months earlier. He offered, in a letter to President Penny McConnell, increased flexibility for school foodservice operators in meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which had recently been revised. This year’s ANC features several education sessions that touch on the idea of regulatory compliance, such as: 2017 Legislative Update, Best Practices for Preparing Your Administration Review, How to Make the Verification Process Work Better for You and What You Need to Know: Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities. Visit the ANC website for a full list of the education sessions and their descriptions to see which ones you want to attend!

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servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

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