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State School Board to Rule on Fund Raisers
Monday, 18 August 2014

August 18--  The state school board meets Thursday in Atlanta and will consider a recommendation allowing local school boards some leeway when it comes to approving what can be sold at school fundraisers.

A federal nutrition law governing what can and cannot be served in school lunchrooms has a provision prohbiting the sale of so-called junk food by school teams and clubs, however, Matt Cordoza with the Georgia Department of Education says it gives authority for a limited number of exemptions.

"As of July 1, this portion of the new law went into effect that says that if any kind of fundraiser, it it's not in compliance with the school nutrition guidelines, then they can't sell it in the school.

"We've now taken a proposal to the state board to allow 30 exemptions per school per year so schools across the state can have those up to a point and not lose some of that fundraising money they are accustomed to," he said.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden worked to pass the law and on a visit to Vidalia said the law is misunderstood.

"There's just been a lot of misunderstanding.  I don't think anybody wanted to say that any group like the PTA or cheerleaders or any class can't have a bake sale.  It's 'sometime food' we would say.  It's special occasions for kids to be able to do that.  I would encourage folks to go back and look at the law and use some common sense," she advised.

According to Cordoza, the state School Superintendent and school board chairman think the law is overreach.

"Superintendent Barge and our board chair Helen Rice issued a statement saying they thought these federal guidelines are an overreach of what they should be telling our local schools to do. 

"That's something our local schools should have the ability to do, with budgets beng what they've been the last number of years, they get some significant amount of money from these," Cordoza said.


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