Local School Wellness Policies: Addressing Fundraisers
July 11, 2006 -- What rules apply to food-related fundraisers in your school district? Are students permitted to sell cookies or candy during the school day to raise money for extracurricular clubs? Do coaches and principals raise money through vending machine sales? Does the PTA or booster club hold periodic bake sales? Overall, does your district make general—or highly specific—recommendations regarding this issue?
What may be acceptable for your district may be unworkable for another. Each of America’s school districts is as unique as a thumbprint. Their sizes, budgets, demographics, regions, type of school meal operation and more can be extremely varied.
For these reasons, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 places the responsibility of developing Local School Wellness Policies (LSWPs) squarely on the shoulders of local officials, who know their schools and communities best. LSWPs must be in place by July 2006 and implemented during the 2006-07 school year, with the aim of ensuring that the entire school environment promotes wellness. Today, take a look at one of the many ways that LSWPs can differ: their regulation of food-related fundraisers. From very detailed guidance to none at all, schools from coast to coast are discovering what works for them.
San Francisco (Calif.) Unified School District
Policy Overview: SFUSD’s policy is designed to increase the physical activity and healthful nutrition of its students. The policy addresses meal eligibility applications, district nutrition standards, menu choices, nutrition education, vending machines, profit-sharing possibilities, food sales, physical activity, evaluation of the policy’s implementation, communications regarding the policy and future policy changes.
Fundraising Rules: Proscriptive.
Fundraising rules restrict both student-run and parent-run fundraisers. “Student-run fundraising food sales during the school day are limited to 4 days total per year, per California Code of Regulation.” Fundraising foods must meet district nutrition standards, and the district provides a list of products already approved for easy reference. In order to conduct student-run food sales outside of school hours but on campus, other requirements must be met. Parents may hold an unlimited amount of fundraisers if their products meet district nutrition standards and the timing of the sale doesn’t compete with the school meal program. Healthy choices are recommended highly, but parents are permitted to hold fundraisers using food items that do not meet the nutrition standards, under restricted conditions. Foods that aren’t subject to the district's nutrition policy include foods sold by event organizers renting school property for an outside, non-school-related event; free food, such as refreshments for potlucks, parties, picnic, etc.; and non-school-related fundraisers brought into the school environment, which are at the principal’s discretion. Those in charge of policymaking include the Student Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee and the superintendent.
DeKalb County Schools, Decatur, Ga.
Policy Overview: With the aims of raising academic achievement and increasing customer satisfaction, DeKalb introduced goals for nutrition education, the school nutrition operation, physical education, a healthy school environment and other foods available on the school campus. The superintendent is charged with implementing any related procedures in support of the policy and with designating a person to oversee the policy’s implementation.
Fundraising Rules: Encouraged.
The policy devotes the following line to school food fundraisers: “School fundraising shall be encouraged to offer healthy food choices or non-food sales.”
Fairborn City (Ohio) Schools
Policy Overview: Fairborn’s local school wellness policy encompasses a broad range of activities that affect student health—and therefore, school attendance and academic achievement, as well. The policy’s goals include nutrition education, foodservice regulation and school-based activities, from physical activity to appropriate classroom rewards.
Fundraising Rules: In Development.
Fairborn continues to explore possibilities for governing fundraisers that include food products. The policy states that there will be a survey of “clubs and buildings regarding foods sold as fundraisers.”
Iron County (Utah) School District
Policy Overview: This medium-sized school district opted to keep its local school wellness policy simple and easy to implement. The policy covers use of foods as rewards in the classroom, adequate time for eating meals, nutrition and health education, HACCP, vending restrictions, and physical activity, including exercise, a variety of activities and education. The policy also notes that the wellness committee will meet annually to evaluate and recommend revisions “consistent with healthful choices in both nutrition and physical activity” and submit its finding to the local board of education.
Fundraising Rules: Not Applicable.
Fundraising isn’t mentioned in the local school wellness policy.