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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Urges a No Vote on House CNR Substitute
Block Grant Proposal Threatens Student Access to Healthy School Meals
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) is urging Members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee to vote against a proposed school meal block grant pilot. The measure is included in Subcommittee Chair Rokita’s substitute to H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016. The substitute is up for a vote during the committee’s Wednesday markup of the bill.
On behalf of SNA’s 56,000 members, who work on the frontlines in school cafeteria’s nationwide, SNA President Jean Ronnei, SNS, called on Members of Congress to oppose the block grant proposal.
“For 70 years the United States has maintained a steadfast commitment to ensuring children nationwide have consistent access to healthy meals at school,” said Ronnei. “This reckless block grant proposal is the first step toward eliminating this federal guarantee that all children – including America’s most vulnerable students – will have access to the nutrition they need to succeed at school.”
The block grant pilot would allow three states to abandon federal requirements, including mandates on student eligibility for free and reduced price meals and nutrition standards for meals. School meal programs in participating states would lose critical funds under the proposal. For example, the block grant would not include federal reimbursements for meals provided to full paid students or the additional 6 cent lunch reimbursement earned under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Funding provided under the block grant would remain static at Fiscal Year 2016 rates for the entirety of the three year grant cycle.
“School meal programs are already under-funded, with many struggling to break even in the face of rising food and labor costs,” said Ronnei. “Block grants threaten to strip these vital programs of critical funds and rob them of the ability to respond to increased demand due to local economic downturns or rising student enrollment. Further cuts will limit services for students, compromise the quality of meals, drive up school meal prices for families and force many schools to cut into education funds to cover food service losses.”
“More than 30 million students nationwide depend on school meals to nourish their bodies and minds,” said Ronnei. “America’s students cannot afford to be part of this dangerous experiment.”
SNA is advocating for increased funding for school meal programs. Visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/PositionPaper to learn more.
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.