Tuesday Morning - May 3, 2022

1 big thing: School nutrition waivers expiring soon

Large Take Action Button

The big picture: Without Congressional action, critical school nutrition program waivers are set to expire in less than two months. Have you contacted your legislators to request that they take action today and extend waiver authority to USDA? 

What they’re saying: In a House Agriculture Committee hearing on April 28th, Stacy Dean, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, highlighted her concern about the viability of school nutrition programs. 

💭 “I will say one of the worries we have looking ahead is what the impact will be for school food. That's an area where we know we will lose our expanded waiver authority on June 30th. And we've called upon Congress to see if there's a way to extend it because that's a system we're not as confident can make the pivot to ensuring that they're continuing to provide meals to children during a period of higher food prices and labor difficulties. So we really hope that we can work with you all on giving us some additional flexibility to help there.” 

Bottom line: Take Action and send a message to your legislators

2. USDA request for comment

USDA Request for Comment

What’s new: USDA has issued a comment request regarding the School Breakfast Program. States, school food authorities and schools are required to keep accounts and records to enable FNS to determine whether the program is in compliance.  

Why it matters: FNS uses the information to monitor state agency and SFA compliance, determine the amount of funds to be reimbursed, evaluate and adjust program operations, and to monitor program funding and program trends.  

What’s next: Comments are due on May 31, 2022 and can be submitted on the following website: www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain.   

3. School Lunch Hero Day

SLHD

🔟 What’s new: This year marks the 10th anniversary of School Lunch Hero Day (SLHD), a great time to celebrate the heroes that provide healthy school meals and make school cafeterias a better place for kids.

  • In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham has signed a proclamation to declare May 6, 2022 “School Lunch Hero Day.”  

What’s next: SNA has partnered with Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and illustrator of the “Lunch Lady” book series. To learn more about the inspiration behind SLHD, download resources to recognize your heroes or to check out Jarrett J. Krosoczka TED Talk, please visit our website.  

Go deeper: As part of its SLHD celebration, SNA announced its annual regional and national award winners in the Employee, Manager and Director categories. Learn more about the award winners here  

 

4. USDA releases Equity Action Plan

Equity Action Plan

What’s new: The USDA has released its Equity Action Plan which outlines actions the USDA will take to advance equity to improve access to programs and services for underserved stakeholders and communities. 

Go deeper: These particular actions include reducing barriers to USDA programs; improving support to underserved farmers, ranchers, landowners and farmworkers; expanding equitable access to USDA nutrition assistance programs, including child nutrition; and increasing USDA infrastructure investments that benefit underserved communities. 

For more information, visit www.usda.gov/equity

5. State legislative update

Map of US

🔎Let’s look at the latest state updates…

Minnesota State Senator Charles W. Wiger introduced legislation that would require schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to provide a federally reimbursable lunch​, at no cost, to all enrolled students each school day.

  • A participating school with an Identified Student​ Percentage (ISP) at or above the Federal percentage determined for all meals to be reimbursed at​ the free rate must participate in the Community Eligibility Provision.

  • The Minnesota Department of Education is required to the cover the difference between the federal reimbursement and​ the average cost of a school meal.

  • This measure also indicates that schools must offer meals to all students regardless of any previous outstanding balance in the student's meals account attributable to a la carte purchases​ or for any other reason. 

The Vermont House of Representatives introduced a Proposal of Amendment to S.100, the “Farm Fresh School Meals for All Act.” This bill proposes amending everything after the enacting clause, including changing its name to “Universal School Meals Act.”

  • School boards operating public schools must ensure that all schools provide the same school breakfast and school lunch program to students who qualify under the National Child Nutrition Act and the National School Lunch Act every school day at no charge.

  • An approved independent school located in Vermont may operate the same school lunch and school breakfast program and offer these meals to each student attending on public tuition every school day at no charge.

  • Reimbursement from state funds will be available only to districts that maximize access to federal funds for the cost of the school breakfast and lunch program, including the Community Eligibility Provision or Provision 2 of these programs.  

That’s all for this week—we’ll be back next week with more! 

💻Until then, visit our website to learn about the status of policies at the state level, resources, and tools available to advocate for your program at all levels, and how SNA uses its PAC to support school nutrition.

📰 Do you have a colleague who is interested in school nutrition policy?

  • Invite them to sign-up to receive Tuesday Morning for all the latest federal and state policy news.

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servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

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