Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Hartzler calls for local control over school lunch prices
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) introduced H.R 3307, the School Lunch Affordability Act, to keep school lunches affordable for families by eliminating federal mandates on school lunch prices and returning this authority to local school districts.
"Families across Missouri's Fourth and elsewhere in the United States rely on an affordable, stable school lunch system to provide nutritious meals for their children," Hartzler said. "Decisions on school budgets should be made by local officials that understand the specific needs of the community they serve. The continued “Washington-knows-best” mentality on education must stop. Many schools in Missouri are competently administering school lunch programs at a price under the federally mandated price, providing these much needed meals to children and keeping them affordable for families."
"Under current regulations, even those schools with lunch programs operating in the black would be required to raise their prices to meet the federally mandated price," Hartzler continued. "Doing so may very well price some families out of the program, driving participation in the school lunch program down further than it already is. My bill will essentially eliminate the federal mandate on school lunch costs and return authority to local school districts and boards--where they are aware of the unique needs of the families in their community. I am hopeful this bill will pass quickly through committee and included in a more comprehensive school lunch reauthorization bill that will provided much needed relief to local schools in the coming months."
"Local school boards and administrators are in the best position to determine what students and parents can pay for full-priced school meals," said Melissa Randol, Executive Director of the Missouri School Boards Association. "These cost mandates from Washington are having the unintended consequence of reducing participation in the school lunch program and inhibiting our school districts’ ability to provide students with nutritious meals.”
"The Missouri Association of School Administrators thanks Congresswoman Hartzler for her continued support of Missouri public schools and for introducing this bill,” said Mike Lodewegen, Associate Executive Director of Government Affairs, Missouri Association of School Administrators. “Congresswoman Hartzler’s focus on ensuring that federal education and school nutrition policy balances the priority of meeting the needs of students while granting the flexibility schools need to successfully implement programs that fit their community's unique needs. This legislation is a necessary piece of regulatory relief schools need in so many areas of federal education policy. We look forward to working with Congresswoman Hartzler on this bill and the broader effort to improve the Child Nutrition Act."