What will new school lunch bill mean?
The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill, which Obama signed into law yesterday, reauthorizes child nutrition programs for five years and includes $4.5 billion in new funding for the programs over 10 years. To see a sample menu from the White House showing how school lunch could change as a result, go here. Specifically, it also, among other things (from a White House fact sheet):
- Gives USDA the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods regularly sold in schools during the school day, including vending machines, the "a la carte" lunch lines, and school stores.
- Provides additional funding to schools that meet updated nutritional standards for federally-subsidized lunches. This is an historic investment, the first real reimbursement rate increase in over 30 years.
- Helps communities establish local farm to school networks, create school gardens, and ensures that more local foods are used in the school setting.
- Builds on USDA work to improve nutritional quality of commodity foods that schools receive from USDA and use in their breakfast and lunch programs.
- Expands access to drinking water in schools, particularly during meal times.
- Sets basic standards for school wellness policies including goals for nutrition promotion and education and physical activity, while still permitting local flexibility to tailor the policies to their particular needs.
- Increases the number of eligible children enrolled in school meal programs by approximately 115,000 students by using Medicaid data to directly certify children who meet income requirements.
- Helps certify an average additional 4,500 students per year to receive school meals by setting benchmarks for states to improve the certification process.
- Allows more universal meal access for eligible students in high poverty communities by eliminating paper applications and using census data to determine school-wide income eligibility.