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SNA Press Releases

Spring (Tex.) ISD Named First District of the Year in School Nutrition

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Spring (Tex.) ISD Named First District of the Year in School Nutrition

School Nutrition Association Recognizes Spring Child Nutrition Department as the Outstanding School Nutrition Program for 2008

PHILADELPIHA, July 23, 2008 – Spring (Tex.) Independent School District was named the District of the Year in School Nutrition today on the final day of the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference. The District’s Child Nutrition Department was recognized for serving an increasing number of healthy school breakfasts and lunches and for superior financial and program management. Child Nutrition Director Melanie Konarik SNS accepted the award along with Assistant Superintendent Christine Porter on behalf of the district.

From student taste testing and increasing participation through the use of creative marketing of low fat and flavored milk, to making fruits and vegetables available in the classroom and focusing on training and certification of over 300 nutrition staff members, Spring’s Child Nutrition Department has raised the bar in exceeding the Keys of Excellence, the national standards for operating school nutrition programs. In an environment when food prices are challenging all foodservice operations, Spring’s Child Nutrition Department has been able to remain fiscally sound and maintain nutrition integrity while staying on the cutting edge with cafeteria décor and advanced equipment and staff training. Spring ISD became the first recipient of the award, for which eligibility is limited to those school nutrition programs that have earned the District of Excellence Distinction in School Nutrition.

As the District of the Year in School Nutrition, Spring ISD was awarded $25,000 to further improve and enhance their school nutrition program operations. The funds will be utilized to establish a nutrition resource lending library, a “leading by example” staff wellness program, promoting the nutritional quality of school meals to key community stakeholders, expanding the Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) program in the district and conducting nutrition education promotions for students featuring the “Food Power Hero.”

Whether offering low fat milk, whole grain items, making fresh fruits and vegetables available on every lunch line, keeping costs down, or menuing multiple options every day, it is evident why “nutrition, value and variety” are the three words that Spring’s Child Nutrition Department  uses to describe the breakfast and lunch fare offered daily. The staff is dedicated to providing quality food and service to Spring ISD students and faculty at all times. School meals are healthy and based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Spring ISD has a history of excellent reviews on state audits of the operation and nutritional integrity of the meals. Low fat entrees, a variety of milk flavors in kid-appealing plastic bottles and fresh fruit and vegetables are offered daily. Elementary students may choose from several entrees at each meal service while secondary schools offer eight or more entrees daily. The healthy meals may be the best value in town at 90 cents for an elementary breakfast and $1 for a secondary breakfast; and $1.50 for an elementary lunch and $1.75 for a secondary lunch. 

Spring ISD was one of six districts nationally awarded the District of Excellence Distinction. This recognition highlights school districts that complete a thorough self-assessment in all four “key” areas in the Keys to Excellence program then demonstrate that the national best practice standards that make up the “Keys” are met through a comprehensive application packet. The comprehensive application documents knowledge and application of national best practices in nutrition and nutrition education, communications and marketing, administration, and operations. By being named the District of the Year, Spring, Texas, rose above the District of Excellence applicants in 2008 by best reflecting the Keys Express national best practice standards. The district was also evaluated on the integration of their programming into the community and demonstrated dedication and commitment to setting examples for both students and other staff and faculty.

SNA is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals.  Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

The School Nutrition Foundation, established in 1964, is a non-profit corporation that provides high-quality professional development, financial aid and research programs to child nutrition professionals and members of the SNA.  The Foundation’s commitment to the child nutrition community is integral to implementing positive changes in school meals and, ultimately, to the health of school children.

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Katie Wilson, Ph.D, SNS Named President of School Nutrition Association

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124
epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Katie Wilson, Ph.D, SNS Named President of School Nutrition Association

PHILADELPHIA (July 23, 2008) – During the closing session of the School Nutrition Association’s 62nd Annual National Conference, over 6,000 members and participants welcomed a new president of the Association.

Katie Wilson, Ph.D, SNS, Director of School Nutrition for the Onalaska School District in Onalaska, Wis. became the 61st  president of the Association.  Wilson holds a doctorate in Foodservice and Lodging Management from the Child Nutrition Program Leadership Academy at Iowa State University.  She is also credentialed a School Nutrition Specialist.  In addition to her work as a school nutrition director, Wilson has taught at the University of Wisconsin.

Wilson began her career in school nutrition almost 20 years ago and currently serves as the Director of School Nutrition for the Onalaska School District in Onalaska, Wis. As President of SNA, Wilson is making the creation of national nutrition standards and uniformity in the school nutrition programs a primary focus.  Wilson is also dedicated to raising the professionalism of the school nutrition programs and increasing membership in the association.

Wilson is active in many professional and volunteer organizations.  She has served in numerous local, state, and national leadership roles leading up to her new position as President.  Wilson served on her first national SNA (formerly ASFSA) Committee in 1996 and as the 1994-1995 president of the School Nutrition Association of Wisconsin. Wilson succeeds Mary Hill, SNS, and will serve one year as the elected president of the School Nutrition Association.

Wilson was named president at the final session of the SNA conference in Philadelphia. The SNA Annual National Conference, July 20-23, 2008, featured over 6,000 school nutrition professionals and school foodservice industry members participating in over 100 workshops, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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From the Lunchroom to the Legislature:A Chronicle of the Recent History of School Meal Programs in America

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

From the Lunchroom to the Legislature:
A Chronicle of the Recent History of School Meal Programs in America


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 21, 2008) – Sliced kiwi, turkey wrap on a whole-grain tortilla and a bottle of fat-free milk: school lunch has changed a lot in 20 years, and no organization knows this better than the School Nutrition Association (SNA).  Today, the nation’s leading authority on school nutrition released a new book detailing the recent history of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program by recounting its own organizational challenges and triumphs.

A Measure of Excellence: The History of the School Nutrition Association, 1988-2008, chronicles the history of the Association from its move from Denver to the Washington, DC, area in 1988 to the present-day drive for uniform, national school nutrition standards.  The book offers a unique look at the one federal program nearly every American has participated in. Some of the historical highlights include:

  • Defeating the 1995 Congressional effort to eliminate the federal school nutrition programs.  In trying to reduce the size of government, the Contract with America plan included a provision that would eliminate the entitlement status of the federal school nutrition programs in favor of block grants to the states.  Association members fought a tough, difficult battle to defeat the provisions and maintain a national program that remains rooted in nutrition integrity. A legacy of that time, the struggle continues today to ensure that adequate funding is made at the local, state and federal levels in order to allow districts to offer healthy school meals.
  • Rebranding the Association with a new name.  In 2004, the American School Food Service Association became the School Nutrition Association.  The name change reflected the growing professionalism of Association members and the emphasis on providing well-balanced, nutritious meals to over 30 million children every school day.
  • Expanding the mission of school nutrition beyond U.S. borders. In 1997, the Association began hosting an annual forum for child nutrition officials working in different nations to share and learn new strategies for creating self-sustaining programs in their countries.  In 2006, the Global Child Nutrition Forum became the premier event held by SNA’s newly established Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF). 
  • Creating nutrition standards and developing school wellness programs.  During much of the past 20 years, the Association continually has sought to improve the quality of school nutrition programs. Among its efforts, SNA was a driving force in the addition of a provision to the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act mandating that school districts create local school wellness policies.  In 2008, the Association released a set of model school nutrition standards, ensuring that quality meals for students would be based on the latest nutrition science.

“During the last 20 years, the Association has met (many) challenges… with an unwavering commitment to excellence,” write SNA past presidents Karen Johnson, SNS and Donna Wittrock, SNS, in the book’s introduction. “We have recorded these events here to help future leaders build on these achievements. And we hope that, in doing so, we help to preserve the rich history and legacy of our Association.” The book is available for purchase online through the Association website at www.schoolnutrition.org 

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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Three School Nutrition Professionals Acknowledged for Exemplary Accomplishments

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Three School Nutrition Professionals Acknowledged for Exemplary Accomplishments

PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2008) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized three of its own today at the 62nd Annual National Conference, in Philadelphia, PA.  In addition to state and regional award winners, three SNA members received national recognition on Sunday, July 20, 2008 for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena.

The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence was awarded to Janice Mills, cafeteria manager at Mansfield Middle School in Mansfield Center, Connecticut. Mills was recognized for her 2008 program Looking at Connecticut History through the Eyes of a School Kitchen.  She was the 2002 recipient of the School Nutrition Association’s Louise Sublette Award for Lunch Time Links to Literacy, as well as winner of the 2002 Connecticut Association of Schools non-certified staff award for educational leadership. Janet has been with the child nutrition program in Mansfield Public Schools for the past 15 years and has held jobs ranging from cashier-lunch helper, elementary school manager and most recently, manager at Mansfield Middle School. Janice has served on the School Nutrition Association of CT (SNACT) Executive Board and as Chapter President for the Yankee Chapter of SNACT. Growing up, Mills attended parochial schools that did not provide any type of school meals. That experience has led to her passion for providing nutritious and well-balanced school meals for all students.

The 2008 National Outstanding Director of the Year is Rhonda DeVaux, School Nutrition Director for Irvine Unified School District in California.  An SNA member for 31 years, DeVaux has found the right balance between nutrition integrity and fiscal responsibility. Years before California implemented nutrition standards, DeVaux successfully worked to eliminate soda and candy sales on her district’s campuses. She used fruit and vegetable promotions to increase their consumption by 40% and implemented “best value” pricing for combination meals to emphasize the importance of eating well-balanced meals. All of this was done while erasing a deficit of $300,000 that she inherited when becoming director and creating a “fund balance” that is used for nutrition education and staff development.  In a little over a decade she has increased meal participation by 63% in a district with a very high rate of “paid” students and open campuses. A wide variety of entrée choices, smart utilization of technology and collaborations with PTAs and other campus groups have paved the way for success. Her creativity spans from providing a nutrition education program to students while they wait in line for lunch to involving student groups in the school nutrition program as a way for the groups to raise funds. A past president of the California School Nutrition Association, DeVaux is also active in her school community and operates a model professional development program to provide all of her staff with skills they need to succeed.

The National Heart of the Program went to Anita Karakesisoglu, a foodservice employee at the Nutrition Service Office of Irvine Unified School District in California. Described by her colleagues as “naturally friendly, warm and engaging,” Karakesisoglu’s energy is only exceeded by her creative resourcefulness. By developing an efficient process for entering district financial data, tracking and transporting food and organizing documents and supplies at each school site, she has saved time, labor and money for the district school nutrition department. Whether volunteering to step in when needed at a school site, for a state or chapter association function or to help with district special events, Karakesisoglu is know for her “can do” attitude and positive demeanor. She has continued to focus on professional development, taking a range of courses and seeking to become SNA credentialed in an effort to improve the district school nutrition operation. Anita’s dedication to her profession is evident from her exemplary attendance record, she has had perfect attendance on the job since September 1, 2005, making her truly the “heart” of the Irvine Unified School District Nutrition Service Office.
The SNA Annual National Conference, July 20-23, 2008, features over 6,000 child nutrition and school foodservice industry professionals participating in over 100 educational workshops, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including ABC Good Morning American co-host Robin Roberts.

SNA (http://www.schoolnutrition.org) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  The association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals.  Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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School Nutrition Professionals Review Nutritious Foods & Equipment

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

School Nutrition Professionals Review Nutritious Foods & Equipment

PHILADELPHIA (July 21, 2007) – Whole grain noodles, hummus dip, sunflower seeds, frozen bananas, soy nut butter, reduced sugar yogurt and 100% pure Alaskan Pollock are just a few of the nutritious new foods and beverages that could be served in schools next year. Low-fat versions of student favorites, new ways to serve whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as state-of-the-art kitchen equipment and supplies all contribute to more than 30 million balanced, healthy meals served in schools each day.
More than 6,000 school nutrition professionals from around the country will pack into 215,000 square feet of exhibit space today at the 62nd Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association. With food and labor costs escalating, they will scout for ways to aid in the delivery of affordable, high-quality school meals in their local school districts. More than 365 companies will display a wide variety of healthy food and beverage products, equipment, nutrition education materials, software, services and more on the largest exhibit floor in the school nutrition industry at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, July 20-23, 2008.  Among the healthy products on exhibit and expected to appear in lunchrooms this fall:

  • Fruits and vegetables – Fresh, ready-to-eat, single-serve, prepackaged cut fruits and vegetables including sliced carrots, oranges and apple-grape and apple-orange mixtures as well as dried fruit mixtures and frozen bananas.
  • Beverages – Low sugar, low calorie flavored and plain milks in 1% and fat free varieties; soy beverages, both flavored and unsweetened, made with organic soybeans; 100% juices, 100% fruit juice smoothies, 100% juice with carbonated water and no-calorie, flavored waters.
  • Dairy – Low-fat cheeses and blended, nonfat yogurt with reduced sugar, in age-appropriate servings.
  • Whole grain and multigrain products – Pasta noodles, tortillas, flour, cereals, breads, buns and breaded chicken products designed to be baked.
  • Nutrient-rich spreads and dips – Hummus, “yogurt & cream cheese” and low fat ranch dressings.
  • Lean protein – 100% pure Alaskan pollock, zero trans fat, whole grain breaded chicken patties, antibiotic and hormone free deli meats, Cuban pork and lean beef patties.
  • Healthy student favorites – Pizzas with whole grain crusts and low-fat cheese and low sodium toppings. Zero trans fat, baked potato fries and wedges, including sweet potato fries.
  • Peanut-free alternatives – A variety of spreads including soy nut butter and sunflower seed butter.
  • Snacks – Individually packaged pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins and other nuts and dried fruits
  • Equipment – Combi ovens, serving counters, milk merchandisers, convection ovens, self-service bars, heated cabinets and point-of-sale systems as well as vending machines designed to dispense balanced, nutritious school lunches that comply with federal nutrition requirements.

Attendees will also be visiting “Produce Row,” an aisle of the exhibit floor dedicated to fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Nearby is “Dairy Way,” an aisle solely for dairy-based products. Nutrition education resources, point-of-sale software systems and programs, and kitchen and cafeteria equipment also round out the booths.

The SNA Annual National Conference, July 20-23, 2008, features over 6,000 child nutrition and school foodservice industry professionals participating in over 100 educational workshops, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including ABC Good Morning American co-host Robin Roberts.

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Charlotte County Schools, Florida Win Annual “Eat Smart, Get Moving” Staff Wellness Contest

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124
epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Charlotte County Schools, Florida Win Annual “Eat Smart, Get Moving” Staff Wellness Contest

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 21, 2008) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) and National Dairy Council will recognize the school nutrition staff of Charlotte County School District in Punta Gorda, Fla. as winner of the second annual “Eat Smart, Get Moving” Staff Wellness Contest. The program encourages SNA members to serve as role models for students and to improve their health by incorporating physical activity and good nutrition into their daily routines.  In addition to Charlotte County Schools, Fla, three staff wellness teams were also recognized for having the highest point totals: Blount High School in Maryville, Tenn., Eastern Randolph High School in Ramseur, N.C. and Punta Gorda Middle School in Punta Gorda, Fla.
Charlotte County Schools, Fla. will be awarded a one-time Wellness Grant valued at $5,000. All winning schools receive a milk merchandiser and other prizes including spa gift certificates and free registrations to the School Nutrition Association’s 2008 Annual National Conference from July 20 – 23 in Philadelphia, Penn.

More than 150 school teams participated in the program, which took participants on a virtual “walk” from Chicago to Philadelphia. The goal to help staff members reach and maintain personal wellness focused on the energy balance between food and physical activity.. Participants were encouraged to work together to implement key recommendations such as eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.  While three teams and one district were recognized, all who participated in “Eat Smart, Get Moving” are winners, demonstrating individual and team commitment to health and wellness based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

SNA is committed to supporting staff and employee wellness. Many of the local wellness policies implemented incorporate staff wellness as a key component in promoting healthy eating habits among children. “Eat Smart, Get Moving” will return next year, taking SNA members on a journey from Philadelphia across the nation to Las Vegas, the site of SNA’s 2009 Annual National Conference. For more information visit, www.eatsmart-getmoving.org. Funding for this program will again be made possible through a partnership with the National Dairy Council.
The SNA Annual National Conference, July 20-23, 2008, features over 6,000 child nutrition and school foodservice industry professionals participating in over 100 educational workshops, the school nutrition industry’s largest exhibit hall and guest speakers including ABC Good Morning American co-host Robin Roberts.

School Nutrition Association
SNA is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

National Dairy Council
The National Dairy Council® was founded in 1915 and conducts nutrition education and nutrition research programs through national, state, and regional Dairy Council organizations, on behalf of America’s diary farmers. For more information, visit
 www.nationaldairycouncil.org.

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Delegates from 14 Countries Meet to Discuss Global School Feeding Efforts

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900, ext. 124

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Delegates from 14 Countries Meet to Discuss Global School Feeding Efforts


PHILADELPHIA (July 16, 2008) – Philadelphia will take on an international flavor this week as 20 delegates representing 14 nations convene in the city from July 17 to 22, 2008 for the 10th annual meeting of the Global Child Nutrition Forum. 

This year, the Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) is partnering with child nutrition leaders from governmental, non-governmental, and private sector companies. For the first time since the Forum’s inception, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are major supporters. Other partnering organizations include the United Nations World Food Programme, Joint Aid Management, Solae, Tetra Pak and Schwan’s Food Service. 

The purpose of the Forum is to assist leaders in developing countries start or expand school feeding programs.  This year’s theme is “Building the Link: Sustainable School Feeding and Local Farm Production.”  Delegates to the Forum will share information, seek remedies to common problems, and provide current information on global challenges such as food safety, program sustainability, foodservice management, program operations and nutrition. Following the Forum, delegates will be able to return to their countries with the skills and knowledge to build sustainable school feeding programs.

The meeting is especially timely this year, as rising food prices worldwide have sparked an international food crisis, with many international organizations cutting food aid to countries.  On Friday, July 18th, delegates will hear a panel of experts discuss the international food crisis and its effect on the problem of global hunger.

The Forum is the GCNF’s flagship program.  During the past nine years, 173 international delegates from over 60 countries have participated in the Forum and returned to their countries with information, skills, and plans to advance school feeding. Philadelphia is playing host to an international array of child nutrition experts from South Africa, Mozambique, Bolivia, Uganda, India, Guatemala, Jordan and several other nations. In 2009, the Forum will be held in South Africa. 

The Global Child Nutrition Foundation, established in 2007, is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to expand opportunities for the world’s children to receive adequate nutrition for learning and achieving their potential.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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School Nutrition Association Launches Redesigned Website with New Look and Increased Functionality

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Erik Peterson
703-739-3900 ext. 124

School Nutrition Association Launches Redesigned Website with New Look and Increased Functionality

July 15, 2008 – Improved navigation tools and new capabilities for interactivity are among a variety of additional resources the School Nutrition Association (SNA) launched today with its redesigned website, www.schoolnutrition.org.  The new website incorporates a fresh, inviting look and feel with numerous enhancements to provide an all-encompassing resource for members and visitors. 

As the premier online resource in the school nutrition arena, www.schoolnutrition.org boasts enhanced features including:

  • Design – A new, more inviting color scheme and images convey the Association’s commitment to advancing good nutrition for all children.
  • Comments – Improved interactivity allows members to share ideas and  comment on a variety of discussion boards and articles.
  • Resource Center – New features provide important school nutrition research, tools for operating an effective program, marketing templates, menu planning tools and more.
  • Member services – Simplified tools to review certification records and customization capabilities ensures members get what they need.
  • Searches – An improved searching function and overhauled organization of the site makes content easier to find.
  • News – Featured prominently, up-to-date school nutrition related news keeps visitors informed of the latest trends in the field.
  • Parents – Enhanced parent website provide answers to questions and more detailed information on how school nutrition program work.

In addition to serving as a resource for the Association’s member base of school nutrition professionals, the website also provides useful industry information for school communities and the media.

SNA, the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children's health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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School Lunch Reimbursement Rates Increase

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Erik Peterson
703-739-3900 ext. 124

School Lunch Reimbursement Rates Increase
But Additional Funding Still Needed to Cover Food Cost Hikes

ALEXANDRIA Va. (July 7, 2008)  Today's Federal Register announced a statutory 4.3% annual increase in the federal reimbursement provided to school nutrition programs. However, the increased reimbursement does not cover the estimated 11.6% increase in the cost of preparing and serving nutritious meals that schools have witnessed this year. The School Nutrition Association estimates that the average full cost to prepare a healthy school lunch is approximately $2.88, compared to the new federal reimbursement provided to cover that cost, set today at $2.57. Even with about 20 cents worth of healthy food items provided through USDA commodity distribution program, school nutrition programs are projected to lose 11 cents per lunch served next school year or about $3.3 million each school day during the 2008-2009 school year. Emergency funding relief from the federal, state and/or local level is needed to help cover that loss. SNA president-elect Katie Wilson is scheduled to testify at a hearing on the impact of rising food costs on school nutrition programs before the House Committee on Education and Labor on Wednesday, July 9, 2008.

School nutrition programs have been challenged this year with increased food, milk and energy costs combined with high labor and benefit costs, all significantly impacting program budgets. Many food items critical to providing balanced, nutritious school meals have experienced up to double-digit price increases in the last 12 months according to an SNA survey. All increases exceed the average payment increase for federal child nutrition programs over the past 10 years, examples include:

  • Milk:? 19%
  • Whole grain breads: ? 17%
  • Meat/meat alternate ?11%
  • Fruits and Vegetables: ? 13%

School boards are raising lunch prices and school nutrition programs are working to cut costs while still maintaining the positive changes taking place in the cafeteria. An analysis of local media coverage over the past two months found more than 170 districts have raised lunch prices for the upcoming school year, up from about 70 during the same time last year.  Based on local media coverage from May and June 2008, the average increase in meal prices was $0.26. Even with the increases, the national average cost to purchase a school lunch is $1.98: still less than the average cost associated with preparing a lunch to bring from home - estimated to be $3.43 last school year. Eligible students qualifying for free or reduced price school meals will continue to receive those healthy meals next school year for either no cost or the 40 cent reduced price fee.

Nutrition standard requirements have helped schools to increase fresh produce, low-fat dairy and whole grain foods, but no funding was provided for schools to make those changes. Seventy-eight percent of programs have experienced increased costs as a result of implementing their district's nutrition standards, according to SNA local wellness policy research. Whole grain items, fresh fruits and vegetables and low fat snacks in particular have resulted in increased costs.

Even before this current climate of increases, costs exceeded revenues with school nutrition directors reporting the following in a 2007 SNA Trends survey:

  • 86% indicated an increase in their programs' food costs
  • 83% indicated an increase in their programs' labor costs
  • 84% indicated an increase in their programs' gas/transportation
  • 46% indicated an increase in their programs' indirect costs - such as gas, electricity and water that are charged by the school district to the school nutrition program.

Additional funding from the local, state and federal levels of government and private sources are needed to ensure healthier food options continue to be available in schools. The School Nutrition Association is calling on Congress to address the need for additional funds through an emergency adjustment to the reimbursement rate or the index established to set the reimbursement rate. Adjustments to child nutrition program (CNP) reimbursements, such as the one released today, are a statutory requirement based on the annual change from May to May each year in the Food Away From Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

SNA, the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children's health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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Over 1,000 Professionals Credentialed as School Nutrition Specialists

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Over 1,000 Professionals Credentialed as School Nutrition Specialists

ALEXANDRIA, Va. July 2, 2008 - Leuna Johnson SNS, Supervisor of School Nutrition Services for Assumption Parish Schools in Baton Rouge, La. became the 1,000th school nutrition professional to earn the School Nutrition Specialist credential offered by the School Nutrition Association (SNA.) The credentialing program that was begun by ASFSA in January of 1999 requires that school foodservice professionals fulfill academic requirements, have work experience in the field, participate in specialized training and pass a national exam. Ms. Johnson will be recognized at the SNA Annual National Conference in Philadelphia, Penn. on July 20, 2008.

The Credentialing Program of the School Nutrition Association was created to enhance the professional image of school foodservice and nutrition professionals. A key purpose of the Association is to develop and encourage the highest standards and provide education programs for professional development of school food and nutrition personnel. The Credentialing Program includes standards for academic and specialized training, knowledge and skills.

SNA president Mary Hill, SNS remarked "for over ten years now the SNS credential has recognized professionalism in the school nutrition field profession. Many of our members serve tens of thousands of nutritious, balanced meals each school day and manage school district programs with budgets of several million dollars." She continues, "our credential communicates to others a level of knowledge and expertise in the profession."

The credentialing program is recognized by school officials who hire and manage school foodservice programs. Job placement ads increasingly include the SNS credential as a requirement for the position. In some school districts employees receive an increase in salary once they become credentialed. One district in southeast Virginia recently approved a $1,000 annual foodservice credentialing bonus for any employee who achieves SNS status.

The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children's health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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