School board members have long complained about food standards contained in the act, which is related to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.
But following a 6-0 vote with David Morgan absent Thursday, those complaints are now documented in a resolution.
“Over 50 pages of federal regulations outlining nutritional standards and requirements for all foods sold in schools is excessively burdensome on local school districts and unnecessary for the purposes of reducing childhood obesity,” the board’s resolution states.
“Families should be empowered and enabled to make food choices for children with support of their local school districts.”
School board members, such as Randy Scamihorn, have said the federal government is going too far with the regulations.
“This is an effort by people who want to get into other people’s lives,” said Scamihorn, the board’s vice chair. “It’s overreach.”
Though the school board doesn’t have the authority to change the new lunch rules, Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci said the size of the Cobb School District might get people’s attention.
“We’re the second largest school district in Georgia,” she said. “Maybe (Michelle Obama) will notice.”
In 2012, school lunches were overhauled to meet the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act’s regulations, which include calorie limits and mandatory whole grain breads. On July 1, similar standards will apply to snack foods sold in school vending machines.
Angelucci said students often throw away their lunch food because they don’t want it, and the lunches don’t have enough calories to support students who have sports team practices after school.
The regulations would also ban foods not meeting the new standards from being sold on campus during school hours. This could rule out doughnuts or Chick-fil-A biscuit fundraisers, which provide sizable revenue to schools.
According to Zach Thomas, owner of the Chick-fil-A on Macland Crossing Circle in Marietta, biscuit sales raised $182,680 for Cobb schools last year.
The school board envisions having other school systems join to create a wider effort that will be noticed nationally.
Scamihorn also predicted the regulations won’t always be followed.
“People will quietly ignore it,” he said. “Americans resent being told what to do from on high.”
A one-page letter outlines the Cobb school board’s opposition to the rules, including a host of grievances. These include the fundraising impact, lower participation in school meal programs, the lack of federal funding to go along with the new regulations and the possibility of more rules in the future.
Schools not complying with the regulations could see a financial penalty of up to $20,000, according to SmartSnacksinSchool.com. Unless the law is changed, schools do not have the choice of opting out or delaying the implementation of the standards.
The school board’s resolution came the same day a proposed ban on large sodas in New York City was struck down by the New York State Court of Appeals. The court ruled the city’s board of health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” in enacting the proposal, according to the New York Times.
Board petitions for new math test
Also on Thursday, the school board voted 6-0 to sign a petition asking for a new option in Georgia’s standardized math tests.
Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said there are two different methods to teaching math in the state. Discreet math is the traditional method, where there are separate courses for subjects such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry. The other method is integrated math, which combines elements of each subject.
Right now, Georgia’s standardized test, which starting in the upcoming school year will be known as the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, is geared toward integrated math. The petition asks the state to give school districts the second option of a test geared toward discreet math.
Angelucci said Georgia is one of only four states in the nation to use the integrated math model. She hopes the petition can help change that.
“You have to lead by example,” she said.
Mary Elizabeth Davis, Cobb’s chief academic officer, said Cobb currently uses the integrated math model.
New principals named
Three new principals were named Thursday night, with each starting July 1.
• Patricia Alford was appointed to principal of Durham Middle School from assistant principal at Dickerson Middle School;
• Liss Maynard was named principal at Clarkdale Elementary School from assistant principal at Mableton Elementary School;
• Tricia Patterson was named principal at Tritt Elementary School from assistant principal at the same school; and
Gail Johnson resigned as principal at Campbell Middle School, effective June 26.