School-lunch programs would be repealed under new legislation, and, while it is true that there will be an increase of 4.5 percent over the funding for this year, there would have been a 5.7 percent increase if current funding formulas remained. This will result in a net loss of 1.2 percent, or $70.6 million in New York State.
The proposed changes to child nutrition programs create a block grant with a set amount of money going to each state every year through 2000. There is no funding guaranteed after that. In this proposed block grant, 20 percent of the money allocated to child nutrition could be used by the state for other block-grant programs. This would result in a loss to school-lunch programs.
The new legislation provides no money for increased program participation. That is, if more meals are served in a year because of layoffs in a community or increased enrollments, the school-lunch program or the school district would have to find a way to pay for the increase, possibly through new taxes.
In the County of Erie, there has been an increase in funding of 16 percent each of the last two years due to the increased number of children served. The money to serve these new children will no longer be available under a block-grant formula.
There are many more areas of the proposed legislation that would adversely affect our programs and our children. America has depended on child nutrition programs to feed all children so that they are healthy and able to succeed in the classroom. If this new legislation is approved, the health and future of all children could be compromised.
NADINE M. DOETTERL
President, Erie County
School Food Service Association