January 28, 2010
The Honorable Blanche Lincoln
The Honorable George Miller
The Honorable Saxby Chambliss
The Honorable John Kline
Dear Chairman Lincoln, Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Chambliss, and Ranking Member Kline:
On behalf of the nation’s governors, we write to request that Congress significantly increase funding for school nutrition programs contained in child nutrition legislation in order to reduce child hunger and improve the health and nutrition of children across the nation.
As the country continues to weather the current economic downturn, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and other child nutrition programs are experiencing marked increases in enrollment and participation. However, in the current environment, states and schools are increasingly being asked to do more with less and face significant operational, administrative, and financial challenges to operate a healthy, sustainable school meal program. By providing increased funding, Congress can ensure that child nutrition programs can effectively protect the health and well-being of low income children.
To help states and schools address these challenges, governors ask that Congress provide increased federal support for the NSLP by adopting a method that more accurately indexes the reimbursement rate to the actual cost to provide school meals. Congress should also support state and local efforts to improve the nutritional quality of meal offerings; increase program participation and access rates; educate students on sound nutrition and healthy lifestyles; increase options for physical activity; and partner with schools, families, and the community on school health and wellness initiatives.
By providing increased funding for states and schools through Child Nutrition Act programs, Congress can incentivize and help support state and local strategies to increase overall program effectiveness and operation and take an important stride to reduce hunger and food insecurity in America, improve child nutrition and health, and enhance child development and school readiness.
Governors appreciate your leadership and support on behalf of our nation’s children and look forward to working with Congress on this important legislation.
|Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. |
Education, Early Childhood and
Governor M. Jodi Rell
cc: Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture