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Noem seeks school lunch changes

CHESTER — U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., this week unveiled a new school nutrition bill that seeks to reduce federal mandates on school lunch standards, which have been a point of contention since their implementation at the beginning of the 2012 school year.

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The announcement was made while Rep. Noem ate lunch with high school students in Chester.

“As a mother of three, I know every kid has a different activity level and different nutrition needs, so forcing schools into a one-size-fits-all school lunch program doesn’t work for our schools or our students,” Noem said in a news release. “Current school lunch standards place an unnecessary burden on school administrators, especially in some of our smaller school districts, our poorest counties and our reservations, and send many of our kids home feeling hungry.”

The Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act will be introduced during the first week of December. The legislation, which is endorsed by the National School Boards Association, would:

  • Make the USDA’s temporary easing of the meat and grain requirements permanent, allowing schools more flexibility in serving meats and grains while still staying within calorie maximums.
  • Give administrators flexibility on some of the rules that have increased costs for school districts.