Tuesday Morning - October 22, 2019

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

USDA Releases Analysis of School Meals Eligibility Under Proposed SNAP Rule, Reopens Comment Period
U.S. House Education and Labor Subcommittee Hearing
USDA Announces “Show Us Your Tray Photo Contest”
National School Lunch Week Proclamation
U.S. Senator Sanders and Representative Omar Introduce the Universal School Meals Program Act

State Snapshots

Massachusetts Introduces Legislation to Improve Children’s Health and Wellness
Pennsylvania Introduces Memorandum on School Free-Play Recess and Lunch Period

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC: November 2019 Breakfast Matters Webinar
CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays Training Webinar Series

Mystery Chat Corner

Federal Policy

USDA Releases Analysis of School Meals Eligibility Under Proposed SNAP Rule, Reopens Comment Period

On October 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an analysis of the potential impact of the proposed revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on participants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The analysis “shows that potentially as many as 982,000 children would no longer be directly certified for free school meals based on SNAP participation. Of the total number of impacted children, about 445,000 (or 45 percent) would be income eligible for free meals, and about 497,000 (or 51 percent) would be income eligible for reduced price meals. About 40,000 children (or 4 percent) would be required to pay at the ‘paid rate’ for a school meal if they chose to participate in the NSLP and SBP.” Read USDA’s press release.

To allow the public to provide input specifically related to these new findings, USDA has reopened the comment period on the proposed rule to revise categorical eligibility. The proposed revisions would end SNAP enrollment for an estimated 1.7 million households and as a result, end direct certification for free meals for any students living in these households. All comments must be received on or before November 1, 2019.

SNA is very concerned about these new findings and is preparing to submit additional comments. As SNA discussed in its original response to the proposed rule, some families who are eligible for meal assistance may not realize they need to apply, resulting in students being denied a meal in the cafeteria. Other families will be hesitant to apply due to language barriers, stigma and other obstacles, resulting in needy children going without healthy meals.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

U.S. House Education and Labor Subcommittee Hearing

On October 16, 2019, the U.S. House Education and Labor Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Examining the USDA’s Proposed Cuts to Free School Meals.” USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps provided testimony on the impacts of the Proposed Rule, Revisions to Categorical Eligibility in SNAP. The full hearing is now available on the House Education and Committee’s website. Read SNA’s comment letter in response to the Proposed Rule.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

USDA Announces “Show Us Your Tray Photo Contest”

USDA has announced its fourth annual “Show Us Your Tray Photo Contest.” This contest begins on November 1, 2019, and the goal is to see how foodservice professionals can creatively “Serve up USDA Foods” in school meals. An individual may enter by submitting a photo that highlights the innovative ways in which USDA Foods can be utilized in a meal. Submissions are due by January 15, 2020. Visit the USDA website for complete information and contest rules.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

National School Lunch Week Proclamation

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue illustrated support for the President’s National School Lunch Week Proclamation, which formally declared October 13 through October 19, 2019, as National School Lunch Week. This proclamation is meant to celebrate the success of school lunch programs, including all of the hardworking individuals that help to operate and administer these essential programs such as nutrition professionals, foodservice providers, school administration and community members. This proclamation also highlighted the vital role that producers such as farmers and ranchers play in ensuring our nation’s children receive healthy and domestically sourced meals.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

U.S Senator Sanders and Representative Omar Introduce the Universal School Meals Program Act

On October 15, 2019, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and U.S Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN5) introduced S. 2609 and H.R. 4684, the Universal School Meals Program Act. This bill would amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to make breakfast, lunch, afterschool supper, summer and childcare meals free for all children beginning one year after implementation, among other provisions. Upon enactment, the bill also prohibits schools from denying a school meal to a student unable to pay.

SNA supports universal school meals to ensure all students are nourished and ready to learn. We greatly appreciate Sen. Sanders and Rep. Omar for their efforts to provide students equal access to healthy school breakfast and lunch, which support obesity prevention, academic achievement and overall health. However, the Universal School Meals Program Act is a much broader bill that goes well beyond the scope of school meals. Additionally, SNA is very concerned that during the bill’s proposed year-long transition period, many schools will assume massive quantities of unpaid meal debt, quickly creating a financial crisis in their communities. We look forward to continuing to work with Sen. Sanders, Rep. Omar and other Members of Congress to address these issues and ensure all students have access to nutritious meals at school.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

State Snapshots

Massachusetts Introduces Legislation to Improve Children’s Health and Wellness

Massachusetts’s state legislature has introduced S. 2368 and H 4012, a bill to create a pilot program to improve children’s welfare and health through the development of three regional childhood behavioral health centers in Massachusetts. Each center of excellence shall serve as a clearinghouse for families, early education and care providers, clinicians and school districts to receive comprehensive information on the full range of available public and private programs, service providers and resources within a community that provides behavioral healthcare services and supports for children in early childhood through adolescence. This bill has been referred to Massachusetts’s Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Pennsylvania Introduces Memorandum on School Free-Play Recess and Lunch Period

On October 16, 2019, a member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives introduced HB 1949, a memorandum that would increase the amount of time designated for free-play recess and lunch periods in public schools. This legislation would require schools to provide students in elementary grades with at least 40 minutes of free-play recess each day and to provide students in secondary grades with at least 20 minutes each day, in addition to a minimum of 30 minutes of lunch daily for all students. In addition, a school would not be able to replace these break periods with additional coursework or withhold it for disciplinary reasons. This bill has been referred to the House’s Committee on Education.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Wondering what USDA does with all that research data they collect from you? Register for this Wednesday's webinar and hear from USDA representatives about key findings from recent studies. Plus, register for four additional webinar opportunities in the coming weeks! If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.

Best of #ANC19: News You Can Use - Recent Updates in USDA Research
(and Why We Need It)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Join USDA experts as they walk you through key findings from the new School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study and other recent studies.

Best of #ANC19: Simple Solutions for Handling Change
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Change seems to be the only constant in our world. In this webinar, learn coping strategies that can make change work for you and how to recognize non-productive behaviors that can make even the smallest changes difficult.

ANC Ideas@Work: Connecting the Cafeteria to the Classroom
Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Learn innovative ways to engage your student customers and connect your school cafeteria to the classroom.

Best of #ANC19: Self-Awareness - Knowing Yourself to Improve as a Leader
Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Learn the tools and steps it takes to become self-aware which will help improve your productivity, management style and work relationships.

Best of #ANC19: Blast Off With Out-of-This-World Breakfast Strategies
Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Learn insights from a panel of school breakfast experts on cosmic trends designed to maximize participation during National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) and all year long.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

FRAC: November 2019 Breakfast Matters Webinar

On Thursday, November 14, 2019, 3:00-4:00 pm, the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is hosting a webinar on the improvement of direct certification methods, including tips on how to increase identified student percentage (ISP) in your school or district. Along with student applications, direct certification is an essential tool to ensure that low-income students can receive a healthy and nutritious meal. A careful and thorough process for direct certification can provide a more accurate representation of the number of students living in poverty in any given school. In turn, a school or district’s ability to accurately report may allow for more schools in need to qualify for the Community Eligibility Program (CEP). Tune in to learn direct certification best practices and advice for increasing your ISP throughout the school year. Register here.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays Training Webinar Series

Join Team Nutrition and USDA professionals on Thursday, November 14, 2019, 2:00-2:30 pm EDT, for a brand-new webinar that focuses on resources and easy-to-use tools for determining serving amounts for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This webinar is part of a series of interactive, skills-building webinars that focus on several complex topics related to the updated CACFP meal patterns. USDA is offering a certificate of participation to all those that complete post-webinar practice questions. Register here.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Mystery Chat Corner

On October 22, 1981, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved which artificial sweetener?
A: Aspartame was approved by FDA for tabletop use following years of scrutiny.

Contact Us

2900 S. Quincy Street, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22206
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (703) 824-3000
Fax (703) 824-3015

> For The Media

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Read the latest news and developments facing the school nutrition industry, as well as stay on top of important trends and resources.

 

> Read the Latest Newsletters

SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

> Learn More