School Business Affairs October 2020

WHAT’S NEXT for SCHOOL MEALS? School nutrition departments face serious financial losses as a result of the ongoing pandemic. A May 2020 School Nutrition Association survey of directors revealed two-thirds of respondents anticipated overall financial losses for their school nutrition department in SY 2019-20 due to COVID-19 school closures. In the same survey, directors reported an estimated median loss of $200,000 per district; larger districts expected shortfalls of up to $2.4 million . The Urban School Food Alliance estimated that COVID-19 closures resulted in revenue losses of $38.9 million per week across its 12 represented districts. The Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom have almost ten years of experience in school breakfast program assessment, stakeholder engagement and training, and planning and implementing breakfast in the classroom in K-12 schools. Visit our website to find case studies, planning and assessment tools, marketing and menu planning, and our new Operations & Equipment Guide. Originally designed for use planning breakfast after the bell, our guide can help your school nutrition director find and purchase equipment for mobile or hybrid meal delivery models for breakfast, lunch, snack, or supper. The financial outlook for SY 2020-21 is also bleak: Budget reserves have been spent, school meal participation (revenue) is down, and many districts report new equipment is required to continue serving nutritious school meals. As unemployment rises, more students will become eligible for free- or reduced-price school meals, but the ability to reach families for enrollment is also hampered by the pandemic. Our students are losing out on more than school meals; food insecurity is on the rise, and remote instruction does not offer the same social-emotional supports as attending school in person. Your school nutrition department is a crucial partner in addressing the growing needs of the whole child as we move into “what’s next.” They can help set the table for student success in SY 2020-21. The Partners—Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) , School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) , the NEA Foundation , and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Foundation , with generous support from the Walmart Foundation —came together in 2010 in response to a shared passion for child nutrition and its potential to improve educational and health outcomes. Please visit our individual websites for additional tools and resources.

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