A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO ENACT THE HEALTHY AND HIGH PERFORMANCE SCHOOLS ACT OF 2013.
Creates new Article 17A, Healthy Schools, in GS Chapter 115C.
Healthy Schools Fund. Establishes the Healthy Schools Fund (Fund) as a nonreverting fund administered by the State Board of Education (SBoE) and funded by annual appropriations. Requires the Fund to be used as follows: (1) to provide additional funding for healthy school meals, the SBoE must reimburse public schools as follows: a. 10¢ for each breakfast meal served that meets specified requirements, b. 10¢ for each lunch meal served that meets the requirements of GS 115C-270.4 and GS 115C-270.5; (2) to eliminate the reduced price co-payment, SBoE must reimburse public schools 40¢ for each lunch served to students who qualify for reduced price meals; (3) to provide resources to implement the school breakfast program, for the 2013-2014 school year, the SBoE must provide $7 per student to public schools in which more than 40% of students qualify for free or reduced price meals; (4) to encourage schools to serve local foods, the SBoE must provide an additional 5¢ per lunch meal reimbursement to public and public charter schools when at least one component of a reimbursable lunch meal is comprised entirely of locally grown and unprocessed foods; (5) to increase physical activity in schools, the SBoE must make grants available through a competitive process to public and public charter schools, provided that schools must meet the requirements of GS 115C-270.14 and seek to increase the amount of physical activity in which their students engage; and (6) to support school gardens, the SBoE must make grants available through a competitive process to public schools and other organizations.
School Nutrition. Requires breakfast and lunch to meet or exceed the federal nutritional standards in applicable state and federal law. Also requires breakfast and lunch served to students in public schools to meet or exceed specified nutritional and serving requirements. Requires public schools to offer free breakfast to all students and provides additional requirements for schools where more than 40% of the students qualify for free or reduced price meals. Also requires schools to not charge students for meals if the student qualifies for reduced price meals, provide meals meeting the dietary needs of children diagnosed with medical conditions, solicit input from specified entities on nutritious meals that appeal to students, promote healthy eating, provide at least 30 minutes for children to eat lunch, and participate in federal nutritional and commodity foods programs when possible. Encourages providing cold, filtered water when meals are served. Requires each local school administrative unit to establish a central kitchen. Requires food service providers to provide specified information to public schools and requires public schools to inform parents and students of that same information, as well as the information that vegetarian food options and milk alternatives are available. Requires all beverages and snack foods provided by or sold in public schools, whether through vending machines, fund raisers, snacks, after school meals, or other means, to meet the requirements of the Healthier US School Challenge program at the Gold Award Level. Provides exceptions. Prohibits third parties, other than school related organizations and school meal service providers, from selling food or beverages to students 90 minutes before school until 90 minutes after the school day ends. Allows for a penalty, after the first warning, of $500 per day, paid to the Fund. Requires the Healthy Youth and Schools Commission to review school nutrition and the Article's requirements at least every three years and recommend improvements to the SBoE.
Farm to School Program. Requires schools to serve locally grown, locally processed, and unprocessed foods from growers engaged in sustainable agriculture whenever possible, with preference given to products grown in the state or in contiguous states. Requires the Department of Public Instruction, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and other entities to develop programs to promote locally grown and unprocessed foods from growers engaged in sustainable agriculture. Requires the SBoE to report to the General Assembly, by September 30 each year, on the farm-to-school initiatives.
Physical and Health Education. States the goal of children engaging in physical activity for 60 minutes each day; requires public and public charter schools to promote this goal. Specifies means thorough which physical activity is to be maximized. Establishes physical education requirements for students in kindergarten through fifth grade and sixth through eighth grade. Also establishes health education requirements for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Requires adapted physical education for students with disabilities and prohibits requiring or withholding physical activity as punishment. Requires the SBoE to report to the General Assembly, by September 30 each year, on issues concerning the physical and health education requirements.
Environment. Establishes an environmental programs office in the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to perform specified duties, including contracting with vendors to recycle all materials required by law at all public schools, develop a master recycling plan, and test drinking water in public schools for lead and promptly take any required remedial action. Requires local school administrative units to use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and prepare a plan to use sustainable products in serving meals to students on or before December 31, 2013. Requires the SBoE, on or before December 31, 2013, to prepare and transmit to the General Assembly a report on the implementation of recycling, composting, energy reduction, pest management, air quality, and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies programs. Requires DPI, in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to develop an environmental literacy plan. Establishes a School Gardens Program within DPI to perform specified functions, including establishing a Garden Advisory Committee, providing schools with horticultural guidance and technical assistance, and coordinating curricula for school gardens. Requires the program to issue a report about school gardening in the state, plans for expanding them, and recommendations for approval by June 30, 2014. Allows, when tests show the soil is safe and produce is safely handled, for produce grown in school gardens to be served to students. Also allows the sale of the produce.
Health and Wellness. Requires local school administrative units to collaborate with specified entities to develop a comprehensive local wellness policy, revised every three years. Requires the policies to include goals for improving environmental sustainability of schools, increasing the use of locally grown, locally processed, and unprocessed foods from growers engaged in sustainable agriculture, and increasing physical activity. Also requires schools to report to DPI, by January 15 of each year, on specified issues concerning health programs, nutrition programs, physical and health education, and wellness policy. Provides for sharing of the information. Requires DHHS, in conjunction with local school administrative units, charter schools, and DPI, to develop a plan to establish and operate school health centers in public and public charter schools by December 31, 2018. The plan must include (1) a needs assessment to determine where school health centers must be located and (2) a proposal for financial sustainability for the centers. Requires the plan to be submitted to the General Assembly by December 31, 2013. Prohibits the size of a nurse's suite from being a determining factor as to whether or not a nurse is placed at a public charter school.
Healthy Youth and Schools Commission. Establishes the 13-member Healthy Youth and Schools Commission (Commission) to advise the SBoE and the General Assembly on the health, wellness, and nutritional issues concerning youth and schools in the state. Specifies the Commission's functions and requires a report to the SBoE by September 30 of each year. Provides that members serve three-year staggered terms and provides for appointment, naming of chairs, and rules of procedure.
Green Cleaning Supplies. Requires all elementary and secondary public and nonpublic schools with 50 or more students to, when economically feasible, establish a green cleaning policy and purchase and use environmentally sensitive cleaning products. If adopting such a policy is not economically feasible, requires annual notification of such to the Commission. Requires specified entities, including the Commission, to establish guidelines for environmentally sensitive cleaning products. Allows a school to deplete its existing cleaning and maintenance supply stocks and implement the new requirements for the following school year. Provides that no state funds are to be appropriated to implement these requirements.
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