It's not over yet. Oppose House School Meal Block Grant Proposal
Join national, state and community-based organizations from all across the country in a powerful, strong statement opposing a three-state block grant of the school meal programs contained in the House Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill (H.R. 5003).
The House Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill, H.R. 5003, which was voted out of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on May 18th, now includes a three state block grant proposal for the school meal programs. FRAC and national, state, and local partners are launching an intensive nationwide campaign against these efforts to block grant the school meal programs, or any other child nutrition program, during this reauthorization process.
Please read and sign the statement below. We encourage you to share this statement widely with your networks and partners and help us beat back this dangerous proposal. Signatories will be listed by organization name only.
We write to express our strong opposition to the block grant provision included in the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016” (H.R. 5003), and we would oppose any proposal to block grant any child nutrition program. The highly effective child nutrition programs are designed to reduce hunger, improve health, and support learning. Block granting them is misguided and would diminish their ability to accomplish these fundamental goals.
The three-state block grant proposal included in the House bill would immediately cut the funding to operate the school nutrition programs in those states. It would eliminate the additional six-cent reimbursement that 98 percent of school districts receive for meeting the improved nutrition standards and the federal funding provided to support paid meals. After that cut, funding is capped at the fiscal year 2016 funding level. With each year, the programs’ ability to serve low-income children will erode even further as the states will no longer qualify for the annual funding adjustments that are based on food price inflation – resulting in fewer meals provided to fewer needy children. Additionally, this approach means that states will be unable to respond to any increase in need arising from a recession or population growth.
Furthermore, the meals would no longer have to meet consistent nutrition standards as they are only required to be “healthy.” This would create a patchwork of standards that seriously diminishes the school meals programs’ ability to promote good nutrition and improve child health outcomes and makes it difficult to procure the food needed. Participating states could set their own eligibility rules. Moreover, there would be no requirement that children have access to both school breakfast and lunch, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture would have minimal authority to ensure that the child nutrition funding that the states receive is being used to meet the nutritional needs of the children in the state.
The current structure of the child nutrition programs is based upon a shared, bipartisan commitment to provide children access to the nutritious meals they need in order to grow up healthy and achieve academically, and it allows the programs to respond to any increase in need. This commitment must be maintained.
We urge you to reject any proposals to block grant the child nutrition programs.