FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Calls for Passage of the Build Back Better Act
Critical investments will benefit students & school meal programs
ARLINGTON, VA – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) is urging the House Education and Labor Committee to advance the Build Back Better Act and Congress to quickly pass the legislation.
“The Build Back Better Act makes critical investments in school meal programs and expands access to free, healthy school meals to benefit students,” said SNA President Beth Wallace, MBA, SNS.
The bill would allow an estimated 9 million more students to receive free meals without an application by increasing the number of schools in low income communities able to take advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The CEP multiplier used to determine federal reimbursements for meals served would increase from 1.6 to 2.5, eliminating financial barriers for schools currently eligible for CEP. In addition, the bill expands school eligibility for CEP by lowering the Identified Student Percentage threshold from 40 to 25 percent. The Act permits states to implement CEP statewide and expands Medicaid direct certification to all states, ensuring students nationwide who participate in Medicaid and are eligible for free and reduced-price meals can receive them without an application. These provisions would continue through the 2029/30 School Year.
“Community Eligibility Provision eliminates long-standing barriers to healthy school meals in needy communities and ensures children are fueled for learning,” said Wallace. “ Research shows students receive their healthiest meals at school, and The Build Back Better Act will build on this success by providing critical equipment funding for school meal programs hard hit by pandemic financial losses.”
The Build Back Better Act includes $500 million in school kitchen equipment grants and $634 million for a Healthy School Meal Incentives demonstration project. SNA has consistently called for financial support for school meal programs and expanded access to free school meals.
About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 50,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. For more information on school meals, visitwww.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals