NYC4CNR May 2015 Newsletter | Teachers College Columbia University

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NYC4CNR May Newsletter

The May 2015 Newsletter for NYC4CNR, the policy coalition we co-convene.

   

NYC4CNR Website

Alliance Update

First Senate Hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held its first hearing on Child Nutrition on May 7, billed as “A Review of Child Nutrition Programs.”  The hearing focused on accountability and oversight, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and flexibility around nutrition standards.  Chairman Roberts (R-KS) declared his intention to craft a bipartisan bill working with Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI), and to do so on time, before theSeptember 30, 2015 expiration of the current legislation.  He also made it clear that the bill must not contain additional spending without an offset.

 

Stephen Lord of the Government Accountability Office addressed new findings about higher error rates in school meals programs, but acknowledged that the USDA is following the recommended steps to address this.  Zoe Neuberger, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and an expert on CEP, addressed some of Lord’s concerns, stating that CEP leads to fewer errors and offers an advantage for districts because it uses direct certification.

 

In response to calls for increased flexibility on nutrition standards by Cindy Jones of the Olathe United School District 233, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York pointed out that over 90% of school food authorities are in compliance.  She also brought in a serving of New York State apple to show what a ½ cup fruit or vegetable looks like (one of the requirements of a school meal that is under threat).

Second House Hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

The House Committee on Education & the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education has an upcoming May 19 hearing titled "Addressing Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Federal Child Nutrition Programs." We will update the Alliance as we learn more about the witness list.

 

 

NYC4CNR General Meeting May 151-2:30 PM:

The next general NYC4CNR meeting will be held at City Harvest on May 15.  The Communications Subcommittee will share a plan for communications activities over the next few months, and the Priorities Subcommittee will present a final draft of priorities.

 

Other Events:
If you or your organization know of any events related to the National School Lunch Program, theSchool Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and/or the Child and Adult Care Food Program, please let us know so that we can advertise it to the Alliance.  Email David DeVaughn (ddevaughn@cityharvest.org) or Claire Uno (cu2155@tc.columbia.edu) with event information.

Legislative Update

The Senate hearing on May 7 came on the heels of Senator Hoeven’s (R-ND) introduction of the Healthy School Meals Flexibility Act (S. 1146) on April 30 to prohibit further reductions in sodium levels and to reinstate the grain-rich requirements (keeping whole grain requirements at half of grains, rather than 100%).  Currently there are four cosponsors, Senators Angus King (I-ME), Tim Cotton (R-AR), John Boozman (R-AR), and Jim Risch (R-ID).  The bill is supported by the School Nutrition Association and the National School Boards Association.

 

USDA released data on May 6, 2015 showing that 95% of schools are successfully meeting nutrition standards.  In a press release, Secretary Vilsack said that the USDA is “working with schools to provide funding, training, and flexibility so that 100 percent of schools will be able to successfully serve children healthier meals. Now that we are so close to the finish line, it would be unwise to roll back healthy meal standards just as they are beginning to work to ensure our kids have access to the balanced, nutritious food doctors recommend."

 

 

Bills to Watch

We are keeping an eye on the following bills, which may be reintroduced in the new Congress:

The Summer Meals Act of 2015 (S.613 / H.R. 1728)
Introduced February 27, 2015 in the Senate, March 26, 2015 in the House
Sponsors: 
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK); Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Rick Larsen (D-WA)
What it does: 
Enhances efforts to expand the reach of the Summer Food Program to low-income children and significantly simplify the administration of the program for sponsors.

The Expand School Meals Act of 2014 (S. 2248) 
Introduced April 10, 2014
Sponsor: 
Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
What it does: 
Helps more low-income children receive free school meals by eliminating the reduced-price category for school meal programs.  This bill would help the many low-income families earning up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level—which is $36,612 per year.

The Stop Child Hunger Act of 2014 (S. 2366/H.R. 5242)
Introduced May 21, 2014 in the Senate, July 29, 2014 in the House
Sponsors: 
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA); Representatives Susan Davis (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
What it does: 
Amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a program providing eligible households with summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards that give children access to food during the summer months to: (1) reduce or eliminate children's food insecurity and hunger, and (2) improve their nutritional status.

School Food Modernization Act (S. 540)
Introduced February 24, 2015
Sponsors: 
Susan Collins (R-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
What it does: 
Issues loan guarantees to LEAs/SFAs to finance the construction, remodeling, or expansion of infrastructure or the purchase of durable equipment that will facilitate their provision of healthy meals through the school lunch program.

Farm to School Act of 2015 (S. 569 / H.R.1061)
Introduced February 25, 2015 
Sponsors: 
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS); Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) 
What it does: 
Increases support for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program by expanding the scope of eligible entities to include preschools, summer food service program sites, and after school programs; increasing mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million; and improving access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods.

 

News Update

Bills to Watch

Please follow @NYC4CNR on twitter for updates about the alliance.  Retweet us to share the latest information about CNR with your followers!

Here are some sample tweets to share with your followers this week:  

Learn more about the bill introduced in the Senate this month that would cut whole grains in school meals to just 25% http://ow.ly/MNMjV

Are School Lunches Starving Student Athletes? Get the full story from Dana Woldow at Beyond Chron http://ow.ly/MNOnC

 

 - NYC4CNR Background -

 

What is the Alliance?
The NYC Alliance for CNR is a group of diverse stakeholders working together for a strong Child Nutrition Act.

 

What is the Child Nutrition Act?
The Child Nutrition Act governs the School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, WIC, and other federal programs that provide food and nutrition education to children and families.  Congress authorizes the legislation every 5 years.  The current bill expires on October 1, 2015.
Why is this bill important?
This is a once in a five year opportunity to make improvements to programs that feed and educate millions of children from infancy through adolescence.  In New York State alone, over 1.8 million children eat school lunch every day, and nearly half of those meals are eaten in NYC public schools. We are leading an action campaign for New Yorkers to engage in this debate.

   
     

Published Thursday, May. 14, 2015

NYC4CNR May Newsletter

   

NYC4CNR Website

Alliance Update

First Senate Hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held its first hearing on Child Nutrition on May 7, billed as “A Review of Child Nutrition Programs.”  The hearing focused on accountability and oversight, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and flexibility around nutrition standards.  Chairman Roberts (R-KS) declared his intention to craft a bipartisan bill working with Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI), and to do so on time, before theSeptember 30, 2015 expiration of the current legislation.  He also made it clear that the bill must not contain additional spending without an offset.

 

Stephen Lord of the Government Accountability Office addressed new findings about higher error rates in school meals programs, but acknowledged that the USDA is following the recommended steps to address this.  Zoe Neuberger, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and an expert on CEP, addressed some of Lord’s concerns, stating that CEP leads to fewer errors and offers an advantage for districts because it uses direct certification.

 

In response to calls for increased flexibility on nutrition standards by Cindy Jones of the Olathe United School District 233, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York pointed out that over 90% of school food authorities are in compliance.  She also brought in a serving of New York State apple to show what a ½ cup fruit or vegetable looks like (one of the requirements of a school meal that is under threat).

Second House Hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

The House Committee on Education & the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education has an upcoming May 19 hearing titled "Addressing Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Federal Child Nutrition Programs." We will update the Alliance as we learn more about the witness list.

 

 

NYC4CNR General Meeting May 151-2:30 PM:

The next general NYC4CNR meeting will be held at City Harvest on May 15.  The Communications Subcommittee will share a plan for communications activities over the next few months, and the Priorities Subcommittee will present a final draft of priorities.

 

Other Events:
If you or your organization know of any events related to the National School Lunch Program, theSchool Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and/or the Child and Adult Care Food Program, please let us know so that we can advertise it to the Alliance.  Email David DeVaughn (ddevaughn@cityharvest.org) or Claire Uno (cu2155@tc.columbia.edu) with event information.

Legislative Update

The Senate hearing on May 7 came on the heels of Senator Hoeven’s (R-ND) introduction of the Healthy School Meals Flexibility Act (S. 1146) on April 30 to prohibit further reductions in sodium levels and to reinstate the grain-rich requirements (keeping whole grain requirements at half of grains, rather than 100%).  Currently there are four cosponsors, Senators Angus King (I-ME), Tim Cotton (R-AR), John Boozman (R-AR), and Jim Risch (R-ID).  The bill is supported by the School Nutrition Association and the National School Boards Association.

 

USDA released data on May 6, 2015 showing that 95% of schools are successfully meeting nutrition standards.  In a press release, Secretary Vilsack said that the USDA is “working with schools to provide funding, training, and flexibility so that 100 percent of schools will be able to successfully serve children healthier meals. Now that we are so close to the finish line, it would be unwise to roll back healthy meal standards just as they are beginning to work to ensure our kids have access to the balanced, nutritious food doctors recommend."

 

 

Bills to Watch

We are keeping an eye on the following bills, which may be reintroduced in the new Congress:

The Summer Meals Act of 2015 (S.613 / H.R. 1728)
Introduced February 27, 2015 in the Senate, March 26, 2015 in the House
Sponsors: 
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK); Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Rick Larsen (D-WA)
What it does: 
Enhances efforts to expand the reach of the Summer Food Program to low-income children and significantly simplify the administration of the program for sponsors.

The Expand School Meals Act of 2014 (S. 2248) 
Introduced April 10, 2014
Sponsor: 
Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
What it does: 
Helps more low-income children receive free school meals by eliminating the reduced-price category for school meal programs.  This bill would help the many low-income families earning up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level—which is $36,612 per year.

The Stop Child Hunger Act of 2014 (S. 2366/H.R. 5242)
Introduced May 21, 2014 in the Senate, July 29, 2014 in the House
Sponsors: 
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA); Representatives Susan Davis (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
What it does: 
Amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a program providing eligible households with summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards that give children access to food during the summer months to: (1) reduce or eliminate children's food insecurity and hunger, and (2) improve their nutritional status.

School Food Modernization Act (S. 540)
Introduced February 24, 2015
Sponsors: 
Susan Collins (R-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
What it does: 
Issues loan guarantees to LEAs/SFAs to finance the construction, remodeling, or expansion of infrastructure or the purchase of durable equipment that will facilitate their provision of healthy meals through the school lunch program.

Farm to School Act of 2015 (S. 569 / H.R.1061)
Introduced February 25, 2015 
Sponsors: 
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS); Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) 
What it does: 
Increases support for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program by expanding the scope of eligible entities to include preschools, summer food service program sites, and after school programs; increasing mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million; and improving access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods.

 

News Update

Bills to Watch

Please follow @NYC4CNR on twitter for updates about the alliance.  Retweet us to share the latest information about CNR with your followers!

Here are some sample tweets to share with your followers this week:  

Learn more about the bill introduced in the Senate this month that would cut whole grains in school meals to just 25% http://ow.ly/MNMjV

Are School Lunches Starving Student Athletes? Get the full story from Dana Woldow at Beyond Chron http://ow.ly/MNOnC

 

 - NYC4CNR Background -

 

What is the Alliance?
The NYC Alliance for CNR is a group of diverse stakeholders working together for a strong Child Nutrition Act.

 

What is the Child Nutrition Act?
The Child Nutrition Act governs the School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, WIC, and other federal programs that provide food and nutrition education to children and families.  Congress authorizes the legislation every 5 years.  The current bill expires on October 1, 2015.
Why is this bill important?
This is a once in a five year opportunity to make improvements to programs that feed and educate millions of children from infancy through adolescence.  In New York State alone, over 1.8 million children eat school lunch every day, and nearly half of those meals are eaten in NYC public schools. We are leading an action campaign for New Yorkers to engage in this debate.

   
     
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