WASHINGTON, D.C. | November 30, 2010
As the House prepares to vote this week on legislation to significantly expand the cost and federal mandates associated with child nutrition programs, I urge you to consider the concerns raised by school leaders in the following letter sent to Congress. The nation’s public school districts, represented by the American Association of School Administrators, Council of the Great City Schools, and the National School Boards Association, write, “All of the national organizations representing the nation’s public school districts do not support the Senate version of the Child Nutrition reauthorization bill (S. 3307) pending before the House.” Recognizing the new mandates and budget constraints the Democrats’ proposal forces on state and local communities, the national organizations representing public school districts are calling on Congress to pass a simple extension of current law.
More mandates, more government, and more spending are not the solutions the American people are demanding. I urge you to join our nation’s school leaders in opposition to the Democrats’ proposal for child nutrition reauthorization.
Committee on Education and Labor
November 15, 2010
United States House of Representatives
Washington D.C. 20515
All of the national organizations representing the nation’s public school districts do not support the Senate version of the Child Nutrition reauthorization bill (S. 3307) pending before the House. The bill does not provide sufficient resources to cover the local cost of providing the federal free and reduced-priced lunches and breakfasts. Moreover, the bill adds multiple new requirements while failing to reimburse these additional costs. The Senate bill is actually less supportable than the House version of the child nutrition bill. As a result, the nation's school administrators, school boards, and big city school districts recommend passing a simple extension of current law.
School districts recognize the importance of providing healthy meals and snack options for school children, and support updating the nutritional standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. But, school districts continue to financially subsidize the federal meals program at the expense of our primary responsibility, our students' educational program. U. S. Department of Agriculture studies document that school districts’ cost of providing free lunches exceeds the federal reimbursement by over thirty cents per meal, or an annual cost of $54,000 for school districts serving 1,000 students daily—the equivalent cost of retaining a teacher. In high cost areas, the un-reimbursed cost can be significantly more. The numerous new requirements in S. 3307 will exacerbate these operational concerns, and drive school districts’ budgets further in the hole. Notably, none of the interest groups or celebrities promoting this bill bears the governmental and legal responsibility of school district officials to deliver services with an annual balanced budget.
School districts simply request that Congress pay for the costs of the federal free and reduced priced school meals, and refrain from imposing new federal requirements particularly in this economic environment. Much attention has been directed to the use of food stamp funds (SNAP) to pay for or offset the cost of the Senate's Child Nutrition bill. Unfortunately, little attention has been focused on the drain of local school district funds to pay for or offset the continuing un-funded costs of the federal free and reduced-priced school meals. We, therefore, recommend a "no" vote on S. 3307 and passage of a simple extension of the current programs.
American Association of School Administrators
Council of the Great City Schools
National School Boards Association