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School Nutrition Association calls on Congress to eliminate reduced-price meals

The SNA would also like longer lunch periods, preservation of the USDA 2018 Final Rule and more.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has released its 2020 Position Paper, which highlights the association’s legislative goals for the year. 

At the top of the list was eliminating the reduced-price meal category, which allows students in households with incomes between 130% and 185% of the federal poverty line to receive school breakfast for no more than 30 cents and lunch for no more than 40 cents.

The SNA argues that despite the reduced cost, families of these students still often struggle to make ends meet, and many students go hungry and accumulate lunch debt. The SNA would like students eligible for reduced-price meals to instead receive school meals at no charge. 

The SNA would also like all states to be allowed to use Medicaid data to automatically certify eligible students for free or reduced-priced meals. The association says this change would reduce excess paperwork and processing for schools while also improving certification efficiency and decreasing meal debt. 

Short school mealtimes are also a concern for the SNA. It would like the USDA and the U.S. Department of Education to work with School Food Authorities to develop guidance that guarantees students enough time to sit and eat their lunch. 

The association also supports preserving the USDA 2018 Final Rule and the USDA’s continued efforts to streamline child nutrition regulations. Going forward, the SNA would like to see increased USDA food commodities support for the school breakfast program.

Members of the SNA will meet with members of Congress in March to discuss the position paper during the association’s Legislative Action Conference. 

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