Tuesday Morning - May 16, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Two U.S. Congress Bills Regarding Stigma of Unpaid Meals
U.S. Representative Kristi Noem Introduces School Meal Bill
Revised Prototype Free and Reduced Price Application for SY 2017-18 
SNA is Recognized as Partner of the Year by the Farm to School Network
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
A Profile of the Role of School Nutrition Professionals

State Snapshots

Rhode Island Proposes Universal School Meals
Hawaii Designates Farm to School Month
New State Advocacy Resources
2017 First Quarter State Legislative Summary

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC Meals Matter Calls

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Federal Bills Introduced Regarding Stigma of Unpaid Meals

On Monday, May 8, two companion bills were introduced in the House and the Senate addressing the stigmatization of children who are unable to pay for school meals. H.R. 2401 and S.1064, otherwise known as the “Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017,” amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to prevent children who cannot pay, or have outstanding fines, for their school meal from being discriminated against or stigmatized by school food authorities (SFAs). The bill states that SFAs that administer the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) should work with parents and guardians to address the unpaid meal issue, not the child, and should provide the child with a meal regardless of their financial standing or ability to pay. SFAs are also encouraged to explore innovative ways to use technology to improve and coordinate communications with parents or guardians on issues relating to account balances. H.R. 2401 was sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1) and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. S. 1064 was introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. SNA will monitor the status of these bills and provide updates as they are available.

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem Introduces School Meal Bill

On May 4th, 2017, Representative Kristi Noem (SD-At Large) introduced H.R. 2382, or the Permanent Flexibility for Schools Act. The bill amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to remove some Federal nutrition requirements. The bill essentially changes the words “nutritional requirements” to “nutrition guidelines” in the two previous bills, and thus does not necessitate school meals to definitively meet the standards that they laid out. The Permanent Flexibility for Schools Act has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Revised Prototype Free and Reduced Price Application for SY 2017-18

USDA released a policy memo on May 3, 2017, announcing their Revised Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price Meals for SY 2017-18. In SY 2016-17, the USDA Office of Civil Rights received 1,700 of these applications in error, as they were actually intended for local officials who make eligibility determinations, and not complaints of discrimination. The applications were forwarded by USDA to the appropriate state and local agencies, and in an effort to make sure the applications go to the right place this year, minor design changes were made in the Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals. FNS has added, to both the heading of Step 4 of the prototype application and Step 4 in the instructions, a field for program operators to include a mailing address where households may send completed applications. These headings are added to provide additional clarity on where to send the applications, and though inclusion of these elements on application forms developed by state agencies and LEAs is optional, it is encouraged. Attached to the memorandum are the application instructions, a Word version of the application, and a PDF version of the application.

SNA is Recognized as Partner of the Year by the Farm to School Network

Earlier this month on May 2-3, 2017, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) met in Denver, Colo., for their Annual Meeting. As part of their meeting, SNA was recognized as the organization’s first National Partner of the Year for 2017. NFSN is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring three core elements of farm to school—local food sourcing, school gardens, and food and agriculture education—into school and early care and education settings.

“Our partnership with the National Farm to School Network provides meaningful opportunities to expand awareness of Farm to School programs with SNA members and provide avenues for engagement at the local level with school nutrition operators,” says SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS.

SNA looks forward to sharing existing resources with our networks, as well as work to identify new tools needed.

SNA is honored to be recognized, and serve in this capacity with the National Farm to School Network.

USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade

On Thursday, May 11, U.S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, in order to address the expanding role of international trade to American agriculture. Perdue also announced, as part of a reorganization of USDA, a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field, as well as a new undersecretary for the mission area. Lastly, the department announced that the Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to Secretary Perdue. Perdue issued a report to announce the changes, keeping in line with President Trump’s request of his cabinet members to deliver plans to improve the accountability and customer service provided by departments, which can be found on the USDA website.

A Profile of the Role of School Nutrition Professionals

The Buffalo News profiled a school cafeteria, and the professionals who run it, in the Depew School District. The article touches on how the roles of school nutrition workers have changed over the years. With more stringent requirements and a bigger focus on healthful foods, foodservice staff have an increased responsibility and investment in the meals they serve students.

"We’re not just throwing together sandwiches," Albi said. "We do meals for the kids. We have a hard job because we have to make sure we’re giving the right portions. We need to standardize recipes. A lot of thought gets put into it. The paperwork is phenomenal now. We have calorie levels we have to meet, fat levels we have to meet. Things have to be whole grain breaded. French fries are flash frozen, not coated."

State Snapshots

Rhode Island Proposes Universal School Meals

A Rhode Island representative, also employed as a school teacher, has introduced legislation proposing universal school meals. H 6150, sponsored by Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell aims to eliminate “school lunch shaming” by providing a free meal to all students regardless of eligibility status.

“In many cases, it’s a matter of the family’s economic situation but sometimes it’s a matter of busy families. Maybe the child just forgot his lunch on the bus. The reason is not important. Kids need to eat and it’s time we considered making lunch a regular part of what we provide to students,” said Ranglin-Vassell.

Hawaii Designates Farm to School Month

Hawaii Governor, David Ige, signed Senate Bill 882 into law on April 24th. The bill designates every October as Farm to School Month in Hawaii.

New State Advocacy Resources

SNA members can now access state advocacy resources available through the State Support Center on the SNA website. This state advocacy portal is a one-stop-shop for tips on your local advocacy efforts, links to ethics and reporting rules, guidance on hiring a lobbyist, template PowerPoints and more.

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 birds-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.

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.

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: 54 Days!
SNA’s President during 1996-97 was Janet Bantly, who was behind the beginning of the International Child Nutrition Forum. During this time, the ASFSA (SNA) Executive Board had voted to join the World Food Programme in a global education campaign aimed at school-aged children, and thus the Child Nutrition Forum was born. That year, 27 delegates from 23 countries around the world attended ANC on behalf of the Forum to exchange information about school feeding programs and child nutrition, as well as to network. Though today SNA’s focus is more domestic-based than international, teamwork is still important in child nutrition, and there are several education sessions at ANC 2017 that address this topic. Teamwork is important at the international, national, and local level, so be sure to check out education sessions like, “Simple Solutions for Conflict Management” and “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Building Successful Teams for School Nutrition Success,” in order to learn the skills you need!

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servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (301) 686-3100
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