Schools fear shutdown’s threat to lunch programs

Monday, October 14, 2013

The group, the School Nutrition Association, said in a letter to House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the protracted government shutdown left many school administrators uncertain of their ability to sustain the meal programs after Nov. 1, when schools begin to file federal reimbursement claims for meals served through October. The Agriculture Department said it could not guarantee that money for the school meal program would be available after that.

The association said school meal programs depended on the timely delivery of their federal reimbursements to cover staff wages; reimburse school districts for utilities and custodial services; and pay local businesses, farmers and distributors who provide food, supplies and equipment.

“School meal programs depend on federal reimbursements to operate,” said Leah Schmidt, president of the association. “If the federal government shutdown persists, millions of students who rely on school meals as a primary source of nutrition will suffer.”

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