Tuesday Morning - December 12, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

SNA’s PPL Committee Meets for 2018 Position Paper Drafting
SNA Holds Inaugural Block Grant Task Force Meeting
Congress Avoids Government Shut Down for Now
USDA Issues Interim Final Rule on School Meal Flexibility

State Snapshots

New Jersey Bill Heads to Senate Hearing
SNA State Advocacy Resources

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
National CACFP Sponsors Association National Conference
SNF/Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom Grants & Webinar
USDA Direct Certification Improvement Grants

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

SNA’s PPL Committee Meets for 2018 Position Paper Drafting

On Monday, December 4, SNA’s President, President-Elect, Public Policy & Legislation Committee and SNA Government Affairs and Media Relations staff met in Alexandria, Va., for the annual Position Paper Drafting Meeting. During the meeting, the results of the 2018 Position Paper Survey were presented and discussed in detail. The survey was sent out from November 1-15 and had over 3,600 respondents. The survey included questions about block grants, nutrition standards, administrative and reporting requirements, support for streamlining regulations, and allowed for additional comments. At the meeting, SNA used the responses to help narrow down what should be included in the 2018 Position Paper, which will inform next year’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts. The final paper will be released in early January, so be sure to be on the lookout for that announcement!

SNA Holds Inaugural Block Grant Task Force Meeting

In light of the political climate, and because of the 2018 Position Paper Survey results, SNA felt it was an especially salient time to hold a Block Grant Task Force Meeting. The meeting was held on December 5 and 6, and the task force was made up of SNA members from across the country, representing all district sizes and regions. During the meeting, the results of the 2018 Position Paper Survey, particularly the questions surrounding block grants, were analyzed and the group worked to identify the impact that block grants would have on school nutrition programs. SNA’s 2018 Block Grant Campaign will be announced early in the new year.

Congress Avoids Government Shut Down for Now

Government funding was going to expire last Friday, December 8, 2017, but Congress has passed a two-week funding bill to prevent a shutdown. H.J. Res. 123 (115) extends spending at current levels through December 22, 2017, when Members will have to again address the funding bill issue. The bill passed the House 235-193 on Thursday, then went to the Senate where it passed 81-14.

USDA Issues Interim Final Rule on School Meal Flexibility

On November 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an interim final rule to extend current regulatory flexibility for school meal programs through School Year (SY) 2018-19. The interim rule maintains Target 1 sodium limits for school meals. USDA “anticipates” extending this deadline through SY 2020-21. State agencies can continue to offer waivers to schools demonstrating hardship in procuring or preparing specific whole-grain rich foods that are acceptable to students (eg whole grain tortillas or brown rice). Finally, the rule provides schools the option to offer flavored 1% milk. USDA requests public comment on the interim rule and the sodium reduction timeline to inform the development of a final rule, effective in SY 2019-20.

In response, SNA issued a press release commending USDA for the extension and expressing support for greater flexibility under whole grain and sodium mandates to address challenges while maintaining strong standards to benefit students. SNA is assembling a member working group to develop detailed recommendations to improve a final rule.

State Snapshots

New Jersey Bill Heads to Senate Hearing

S3372, which passed the New Jersey House in June 2017, is scheduled for a hearing in the New Jersey Senate on December 14. The bill requires the State Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education to establish online applications for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).

SNA State Advocacy Resources

Working with your local legislators to pass sound school nutrition policy is a critical piece of the advocacy puzzle. SNA provides these reports summarizing state legislation, reimbursement rates and nutrition mandates. Looking for more information on advocacy efforts happening in your area? Check out this list of SNA state affiliate legislative chairs.

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. Registration will open soon for the following webinars:

The Power of Protein!
Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 2:00 pm ET
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Community Eligibility 101 (Pt. 1)
Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 2:00 pm ET
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Community Eligibility 101 (Pt. 2)
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 2:00 pm ET
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Community Eligibility 101 (Pt. 3)
Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 2:00 pm ET
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

National CACFP Sponsors Association National Conference

The annual National CACFP Sponsors Association conference for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Afterschool Program, and Summer Food Program is open for registration. Visit www.cacfp.org to learn more and to register.

SNF/Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom Grants & Webinar

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), along with the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, are offering grants for direct delivery, grab n’ go, and second chance breakfast. These grants are available to high-need schools and districts in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah to cover the upfront costs often associated with the startup and implementation of breakfast in the classroom and grab n’ go programs, such as purchasing equipment, outreach efforts to parents, program promotion, and other related expenses. Grants are flexible, based on need, and accepted on a rolling deadline. Watch an archived webinar highlighting a previously funded district with a great panel of stakeholder perspectives including a school nutrition director, principal, and superintendent.

USDA Direct Certification Improvement Grants

USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced its release of the fiscal year 2018 Direct Certification Improvement Grant Request for Applications (RFA). Grants are available to state agencies that administer the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to fund the costs of improving direct certification rates with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other needs-based assistance programs. States will have six opportunities to apply for Tier 1 or Tier 2 grants, beginning November 15, 2017, and ending February 15, 2019.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to SNA’s LAC: 82 Days!
Every year, SNA hosts a sweepstakes competition for one lucky winner to receive a free trip for two to SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C.! This year’s contest required participants to write to their legislators in support of the “Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act” and email a picture of healthy breakfast options at their school. SNA’s panel of judges had their work cut out for them choosing one out of nearly 50 incredible entries. The winner will be notified this week!

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