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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Releases 2016 Position Paper Calling for Increased Funding for School Meal Programs
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) has released its 2016 Position Paper, urging Congress to pass Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation and help restore the fiscal solvency of school meal programs.
“For too long, school meal programs have been short-changed,” said SNA President Jean Ronnei, SNS. “While these programs have made many healthy changes to school menus to benefit students, they have shouldered significant financial burdens. The higher costs have simply become unsustainable.”
USDA estimated updated nutrition standards will cost school districts more than $3 billion in additional food and labor costs by the end of Fiscal Year 2016. In the face of rising expenses, nearly eight in every ten school districts have already taken steps to offset financial losses in their meal programs, according to a recent SNA survey. School meal programs have reduced staff, cut into reserve funds, deferred equipment investments and limited menu choices.
“Thirty million children depend on school meal programs every day,” said Ronnei. “It’s time for Congress to invest in the healthy school meals these students deserve.”
To address the financial shortfall, the 2016 Position Paper renews SNA’s 2015 request for a 35 cent increase to the federal reimbursement rates for both school breakfast and school lunch. Additionally, as Congressional committees begin planning for the next Farm Bill, SNA also renews calls for USDA Foods support for the School Breakfast Program.
The paper also requests an independent study of Child Nutrition Program reporting requirements to focus on streamlining burdensome administrative mandates. Finally, SNA urges Congress to compel USDA to implement regulations to address debt arising from unpaid meal charges by students.
SNA’s 2016 Position Paper will be the focus of SNA’s 44th annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC), which runs from February 28 – March 1, 2016 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. School nutrition professionals from across the nation will participate in LAC’s “Charge to the Hill,” allowing SNA members to meet with their representatives to discuss school nutrition issues.
Click here to read SNA’s 2016 Position Paper.
About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 56,000 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, visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals.