The Virginia House of Delegates passed legislation Thursday to provide schools in the Commonwealth with exemptions from federal regulations that effectively prohibit students from holding fundraisers that sell snacks and food not compliant with the federal school lunch program. House Bill 2114, introduced by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton) at the request of House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), allows schools to hold up to 12 school-sponsored food fundraisers no longer than five consecutive days each year.
“Under current federal law, Virginia students are effectively prohibited from selling donuts, pizza or cookies during school hours as part of a school-sponsored fundraiser because the Board of Education has not yet issued regulations to allow it,” said Speaker Howell. “The effective prohibition is an egregious example of federal overreach and the Board’s decision to not proactively allow these school fundraisers simply doesn’t make sense.”
“I asked Delegate Bell to introduce this legislation at the request of a citizen in Stafford County,” Speaker Howell added. “This law will require the Board of Education to issue regulations that allow schools to hold 12 of these fundraisers each year. Students should be allowed to sell candy and food to raise money for sports teams, clubs and other activities.”
The federal “Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act,” legislation championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, gives states limited flexibility to allow fundraisers that sell foods not offered as part of a school breakfast or lunch program, otherwise known as “competitive foods.”
State boards of education may establish regulations allowing the use of competitive foods in fundraisers. However, if a board does not act, then competitive food fundraisers are effectively prohibited. The Virginia Board of Education has not yet issued regulations allowing for competitive food fundraisers. For more information on the federal regulations and state exemptions, visit: https://schoolnutrition.org/uploadedFiles/Legislation_and_Policy/State_and_Local_Legislation_and_Regulations/SmartSnacksFundraisingExemption.pdf
The Virginian Pilot reported today on concerns among local school officials about potentially curtailing student events and trips because of the onerous federal regulations making it more difficult to raise money http://hamptonroads.com/2015/02/schools-say-healthy-food-push-hurting-fundraisers.