March 10, 2014 – On March 7, 2014, SNA sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The letter emphasizes the importance of the USDA directive to establish a waiver process that will provide local schools with an option to delay the implementation of new school breakfast and competitive foods nutrition requirements if the regulations prove too costly. The directive was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-76) for FY 2014, which was signed into law by President Obama on January 17, 2014.
The directive requires USDA to complete and provide the waiver process by April 17, 2014 in order to allow schools to apply before the start of the 2014-15 School Year on July 1. The letter to Secretary Vilsack asks USDA to take into consideration that the waiver be timely, simple, streamlined and not overly burdensome so that SFA’s can successfully complete it in a reasonable amount of time.
SNA is grateful for the opportunity to discuss the many changes required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) with USDA, and we look forward to continuing the positive working relationship as we prepare for Child Nutrition Reauthorization in 2015.
March 6, 2014 – President Obama released his 2015 budget proposal late Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The proposal details his FY2015 economic priorities and includes funds for the continued implementation and growth of child nutrition programs. Program funding is categorized as either discretionary or mandatory. Discretionary programs are dependent on the annual appropriations process and mandatory programs are provided funding independent of the appropriations process.
Discretionary nutrition programs funded through the annual appropriations process include:
Also detailed in President Obama’s proposal are the mandatory nutrition programs which receive funding independent of the annual appropriations process. They include:
February 18, 2014 – Recently, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Kevin Concannon sent a letter to state school officers on the topic of unpaid meal charges. Within the letter USDA points to the recent incident in Utah on the topic of unpaid meal charges.
USDA provides different scenarios placing the expectation on state and local officials to establish workable solutions as well as encourages the option of utilizing the community eligibility provision in areas with a high free and reduced population.
USDA stated that it plans to utilize national survey data from approximately 1,500 food authority directors which will provide a better understanding of the range of school policies in existence, including offering alternate meals as well as the extent of lost revenues from unpaid meals. The letter also mentioned convening a multidisciplinary working group in the near future to solicit best practices and other recommendations in this area.
In response, SNA has sent a letter to Under Secretary Concannon offering its assistance in this matter and to also offer SNA members as a resource and member in serving on the multidisciplinary working group.
Click here to review the letter from Concannon. Click here to review SNA’s response.
On February 5, 2014, Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies and Chairman John Kline (R-MN) of the Committee on Education and the Workforce sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack calling to his attention the Congressional directive that would establish a waiver process that will provide local schools with an option to delay the implementing the new nutrition standards contained in the school breakfast and/or competitive foods regulations if the regulations are proving to be too costly.
The directive, which was included as part of the Agriculture Appropriations bill, requires USDA to complete the process within 90 days of enactment. According to the letter, both Aderholt and Kline expect that schools would have this option available to them by April 17, 2014.
SNA will learn more about the status of this waiver at LAC during the USDA Update 2014 General Session and will report back any updates.
SNA reported on this waiver in a previous story (insert link). To view the Aderholdt/Kline letter click here. Click here to review the bill.
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