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Block Grants would change school nutrition programs forever. It may seem harmless as just a three state trial but that will open the door for the rest of the states going forward.
Impact of a School Meal Block Grant
• Thanks to entitlement status, school meal programs always have the necessary funding to meet students' nutritional needs. When school enrollment increases, or when a recession results in layoffs, the number of students receiving free and reduced price meals increases. Schools can serve more meals knowing their reimbursement will rise to cover the added cost. Block grants eliminate that guarantee.
• Block grants provide a finite amount of funding each year. If circumstances change mid-year, states do not receive additional funds to cover the cost of serving meals to low income students.
• In a September 2015 report, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office warned that "block grants that are smaller than the funding that current legislation would provide would probably eliminate access to nutrition programs for some children and reduce it for others. Such grants would also leave the programs unable to respond automatically to economic downturns."
• The proposed block grant pilot slashes funding for school meal programs in participating states. Block grant funding is capped at the amount the state receives in free and reduced price meals served in Fiscal Year 2016. States would lose the additional six cents per lunch reimbursement they earned under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and the approximately 29 cent reimbursement for meals served to full price students.
• Block grants void federal rules that ensure the uniformity and consistency of school meal programs across the nation. States could set their own rules on which children are eligible for free or reduced price meals, restricting access for low income children currently enrolled in the program. States could abandon all federal nutrition mandates, and under the proposed pilot, states would be required to only serve one "affordable" meal a day to students, threatening recent national progress in expanding student access to healthy school breakfasts.
It is very simple to get a message to congress just copy and paste this link into your browser and follow the prompts. All the info is already there the system just gets it to your representative in the house.
This is through the SNA Website but anyone and everyone in School Nutrition should respond to this action alert. So please share with your team members, friends and family. It is so important that our voices get heard on this portion of the House's Bill for CNR.
Disclaimer: Please note that the articles posted do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the New York School Nutrition Association, but are posted to share current information.