One of the items school nutrition professionals identified as a needed imporvement to the school nutrition programs through child nutrition reauthorization this year is funding for school foodservice equipment, whether to purchase new equipment or to maintain and repiar existing equipment. In response to the need, a school foodservice equipment grant program is being debated as part of the Senate econimc recovery and stimulus plan. The proposal calls for a grant program of $198 million to be made available through states to school district nutrition programs.
Because several Senators and columnists have questioned the school foodservice equipment grant program as an item that may not belong in the stimulus bill, we thought we'd take a closer look at why such a grant program is needed and what effect it could actually have with regard to job creation and preventing job loss:
In the early 1980's Congress eliminated funding for foodservice equipment for schools. Many school districts have not been able to replace their cooking equipment since that time. Whether as part of the stimulus or part of child nutrition reauthorization, Congress can and should take the opportunity now to both boost the demand for these manufactured items while at the same time providing schools with the equipment they need to prepare even more healthful meals in school kitchens.
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