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Reimbursable Meal Participation Study

Some school lunch cafeteria practices are overtly identifying low-income students in public high schools. November 2009

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Abstract

AMarch1,2008NewYorkTimesarticlehighlightedthestigmastudentsfeelwhenit isobvioustotheirpeersthattheyareeatingafreeNationalSchoolLunchProgram (NSLP)lunch.Theproblemisworsewhentheirpeersgotoadifferentlineorroom tobuymoreappealingfoodssoldàlacarteforcash.Thisstudysetouttomeasure boththepercentageofhighschoolsusingseparateserviceareasforNSLPmealsand àlacarte("competitive")foodandhowthispracticeimpactsstudentparticipation intheNSLP.Italsolookedintotheprevalenceofcertainfoodservicepracticesand policies,includingpaymentsystemsandopencampuspolicies,thatdiscourageor encouragelowincomestudentsfromparticipatinginreimbursableNSLPmealsby makingitobviouswhichstudentsarelowincome.Thesurveyshowedthatone thirdofrespondentsseparateNSLPandcompetitivefoodserviceandthat92%had POSsystemsthatacceptbothcashandelectronicpayment.Bothofthesepractices canstigmatizelowincomestudentsbymakingtheirincomestatusobvious. Further,respondentswithclosedcampuses,apolicythatcandecreasethestigma associatedwitheatinganNSLPmeal,had16percentagepointshigherNSLP participation.TheUSDAandCongressshouldaddresstheseissuesintheupcoming reauthorizationoftheNationalSchoolLunchActandensuretheprivacyoflow incomestudentsisprotectedinrealandmeaningfulways.

AbouttheSurvey

TheReimbursableMealParticipationStudysurveydesignwasbyTamiCline Consulting,datacollectionbyTamiClineConsultingandLucyHicks,andmuchof thedatamanipulationandstatisticsbySamuels&Associates.CBNperformedthe datamanipulationandanalysisforthevariablesubsetsandcharts.Thereportwas writtenbyColleenKavanagh,ExecutiveDirectorofCampaignforBetterNutrition.

AboutCampaignforBetterNutrition

CampaignforBetterNutritionisanonprofitcorporationthatstrivestoimprovethe nutritionlowincomechildrenreceiveinpublicprogramssothattheycanbe healthier,learnmore,andbetterachievetheirdreams.ItoperatesoutofSan Francisco,CaliforniaunderthefiscalsponsorshipofCommunityInitiatives.Major fundingforthisprojectandthecampaigncomefromTheSanFranciscoFoundation andindividualdonors.

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Introduction

InMarch2008,theNewYorkTimes(NYT)publishedanarticlechroniclinghow somelowincomestudentschoosetoskiplunchratherthanriskbeinglabeledas "poor"bybeingseenstandingintheNationalSchoolLunchProgram(NSLP)lineto receiveafreeorareducedpricemeal.1Thestudentswhocouldaffordtobuylunch wouldpurchasefoodàlacarteinadifferentlocation.Despitethesetroubling reports,manykeystakeholders,includingUnitedStatesDepartmentofAgriculture (USDA)officials,schoolfoodadministrators,andchildnutritionadvocates suggestedthattheuseofseparateserviceareasforàlacarteandreimbursable NSLPfoodservicemaybelimitedtoasmallnumberofschoolsandnotindicativeof alargerproblematictrend. Inordertodeterminethepotentialscopeofthisproblem,aswellastogainadeeper understandingofcurrentfoodservicepracticesastheyrelatetotheNSLP,the CampaignforBetterNutrition(CBN)conductedtheReimbursableMeal ParticipationStudy(RMPS)in2008.Specifically,CBN'sstudysetoutto: (1) Measureboththepercentageofhighschoolsusingseparateserviceareasfor reimbursablemealsandàlacarte(competitive)foodandhowthispractice impactsstudentparticipationintheNSLP. (2) Identifyifcertainfoodservicepracticesandpolicies,includingpayment systemsandopencampuspolicies,discouragelowincomestudentsfrom participatinginreimbursableNSLPmealsbymakingitobviouswhich studentsarelowincome.

Study Overview

CBNsurveyedapproximately1,000schoolfoodservicepersonnelabouthowtheir programsweredesigned.Thesurveyquestionsaskedaboutpracticesthatwere perceivedtoincreasestigma(usingseparateservingareasduringlunchforàla cartefoodandfederallyreimbursablemeals),schoolpoliciesthatcoulddecrease participationandincreasestigma(suchasallowingstudentstoleavecampusfor lunch),andtechnologyadvancesthatcouldspeedstudentpurchasing,decrease stigma,andfreeupmoretimeforstudentstoeat(electronicpointofsalepayment knownas"POS"systems). Thesurveysweresenttofoodservicedirectorsindistrictswithatleastonehigh school.Thesurveywasdistributedtoalldistrictswherethefoodservicedirector wasamemberoftheCaliforniaSchoolNutritionAssociation,allSanFranciscoBay Areaschooldistricts,andthemembersofYPulse,anationalgroupoffoodservice

1Pogash,C."FreeLunchIsn'tCool,SoSomeKidsGoHungry,"NewYorkTimes,March1,2008

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directorswhohaveagreedtorespondtofoodservicesurveys.Overall,183schools responded,40%ofwhichwerefromCalifornia.Inafollowupsurvey,83 respondentsprovidedenrollmentinformation,whichwasnecessarytodetermine participationeffects. Thesurveyswerenotsenttoanationallyrepresentativesampleofdistricts,so informationdrawnfromitappliesonlytothissetofrespondentsandcannotbe assumedtorepresentthecountryasawhole.Thesample,howeverisacross sectionofhighschoolswhosefoodservicedirectorsareinvolvedinprofessional organizations,soitmaybereasonabletoassumethatthesedirectorsactivelylook forwaystoimprovetheirprograms.Thus,thedatamayunderrepresentthe prevalenceofvariablesdeemedtoincreasestigmaforlowincomestudentsifthe samplehadbeennationallyrepresentativeofallhighschools. Duetothelowresponseratetothefollowupsurveyandthewidevariationinthe sizeanddemographicsoftheschoolsresponding,participationeffectscouldnotbe determinedformostvariables,exceptforwhetherornottheschoolhadanopen campus.2 However,thesurveyresultsrevealseveralissuesofconcernaroundthe useofcompetitivefoodsalesandelectronicPointofSale(POS)paymentsystems andanswerstheprinciplequestionraisedaroundtheNYTarticleofwhetherornot onlyasmallhandfulofschoolshaveseparateserviceareasforreimbursablemeals andàlacartefood. Ourstudydidnothaveacategoryfordistrictsofferingonlyàlacarteprogramsthat are"complementary"totheNSLP--thosethatofferonlymilk,secondsoftheNSLP meal,extrafruit,andwaterasasupplementtotheNSLPmeal,comparedtothose thatoffersnacksorfull,alternativeentréesthatactuallycompetewiththeNSLP.3 Likewise,theUSDAdidnotincludesuchaquestioninitsSchoolNutritionand DietaryAssessmentStudy--III(SNDAIII),4TheUSDAshouldconsidercreatingsuch asubcategoryinitsnextsurveytodeterminetheeffectonNSLPparticipationof competitivev.complementaryàlacarteprograms.

2Thereareanumberofotherpossiblereasonsthevariabilityintheparticipationdata.First,high

schoolshaveanotoriouslylowreturnrateonapplicationsformealbenefits,somanylowincome studentswillnotbecountedassucherroneously.Itispossiblethatthestudentswillingtoapplyfor benefitsareinsuchneedthattheirparticipationisnotswayedbystigma,thoughtheyundoubtedly feelit.Anotherreasonforthewidevariationinthedatacouldbethatitisthattheàlacartevariable neededtobeaskedinmoredetailbecausethereismuchvariationinwhateachprogramoffers. SomeofferonlymilkandsomesecondsoftheNSLPmeal,whileothersmayrangefromsnackfoods likechipsandcookiestofull,largesizedentrees.Thoughourquestiondiddistinguishbetween snacksandmeals,itdidnotdistinguishbetweensecondsofNSLPmealsandspecialàlacarte entrees,norbetweenhealthysnackslikefruitandunhealthyoneslikechipsandcookies. 3USDAFNS,SchoolNutritionandDietaryAssessmentStudy--III,Vol.1,tableIV.8. 4Gordon,A.,Crepinsek,M.K.,Nogales,R.,Condon,E.forUSDAFNS,SchoolNutritionandDietary AssessmentStudy--III(SNDAIII),November2007.

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Findings

ThequestionsaboutmealserviceandPOSpaymentsystemsrevealedanumberof schoolsareoperatingtheirprogramsinwaysthatcanovertlyidentifywhich studentsarelowincome.Thedataanalysisalsoshowedasignificantdifferencein NSLPparticipationiftheschoolhadanopencampus. More than One-Third of Schools Had a Separate Meal Service Location for NSLP and Competitive Food Lunch Offerings. · Thirtyfourpercentofrespondentsreportedtheirhighschoolserves NSLPmealsinadifferentlocationthancompetitivefoods(notincluding vendingmachines).Separatelocationcouldmeaneitheradifferentline orareainthesamecafeteriaoradifferentroomaltogether. ThisissimilartoSNDAIIIdatashowing32%ofhighschoolsofferedcompetitive foods(notincludingvendingmachines).ThoughSNDAdidnotaskifthe competitivefoodssoldinthecafeteriaweresoldinadifferentlineorareaofthe room,itdidshowthatthevastmajorityofthecompetitivefoodsweresoldoutside thefoodservicearea.Thisanswerstheprimaryquestionofthestudy--thereare morethanjustahandfulofschoolsthatseparatereimbursableNSLPandàlacarte mealservice. SeparateserviceareasforNSLPandàlacartefoodscanviolatetheNationalSchool LunchAct's(NSLA)prohibitionagainst"overtidentification"oftheincomestatusof lowincomestudentseligibleforFRPmeals.5Becauseofthepervasivenessofthe practiceandthepotentialforharmtolowincomestudents,theissuedeserves nationalattentionbytheUSDA,theagencythatadministerstheprogram,and Congress,thelegislativebodythatauthorizeditandwrotetheexplicitlanguage barringanypracticethatovertlyidentifiesstudentswhoarelowincomeandeligible forFRPmeals.Ifthevastmajorityofstudentsinthereimbursablemeallinearelow income,otherstudentswillidentifyallthestudentsinthatlineaslowincome.The factthattheiridentificationwillbewronginsomecasesisirrelevant.Thestigma associatedwithbeingpoorisrealregardless. Manyoftheschoolsinoursurveythatseparateservicealsohavea disproportionatelyhighnumberofstudentsintheNSLPlinewhoarereceivingFRP meals,segregatinglowincomestudentsfrommostoftheirpeerswithhigher income.6 Anecdotalinformationfromsomeoftheseschoolsisusefulinillustrating whyseparateserviceareascanraiseovertidentificationconcerns.

5PublicAdvocates,SegregatedLunchLines&PaymentMethodsforNSLPReimbursableMealsvs.A 6Anumberoftheschoolswithseparatedservicecouldnotbeclassifiedforthesubset(n)forthis

LaCarteFood:ALegalAnalysis(PublicAdvocates'sanalysis),October2009.

statisticduetononresponseforkeyvariables.Whenlookingattheclassifiedsubset(n=52),31%of theschoolswithseparateservicelineshaveadisproportionatelyhighnumberoflowincome

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Thechartbelowhighlightsfourschoolsthatoffercompetitivelunchitemsina separateareathanreimbursableNSLPmeals.Theseschoolshavevaryingratiosof studentseligibleforFRPtostudentspayingfullprice.Ineachoftheseschools, thoughtherearesomestudentspayingfullpriceformealseachday,veryfewdoso. InschoolA,forexample,about140studentseatNSLPlunchdailybutofthoseonly2 studentswillnotbelowincome,outofatotalpopulationof900.InschoolB,on average520lowincomestudentslineupeachdaywithonly10payingstudentsfor NSLPmeals.EveninschoolD,wherethepaidparticipationisthehighest,theratio ofFRPstudentstopayingstudentsis10:1.7 Studentsintheseschoolsdonotneeddatatotellthemthatnearlyeveryonewho linesupforanNSLPmealispoor;theUSDAshouldnotneedadetaileddirective fromCongresstoknowthatthisisaviolationofthestudents'statutoryrightnotto havetheirincomestatusrevealed,andadministratorsonthelocallevelshouldnot needtheUSDAtotellthemthatthisisharmfultostudents.

studentsintheNSLPlunchline.Thecriteriausedare(1)doestheschoolhaveseparateservice areas,(2)are80%ormoreofthestudentsintheNSLPlinelowincome,and(3)istherea disproportionatelylowpercentageofstudentsintheNSLPlinepayingfullpricecomparedtheir representationintheschoolpopulation.Thecriteriarequiredaminimumratioofpaidpopulationto paidNSLPparticipationof3:1,buttherangeextendedtoashighas40:1. 7Itisimportanttonotethatitisnotoriouslydifficultforhighschoolstogetstudentstoapplyfor mealbenefits,inpartduetofearofbeingstigmatizedaspooriftheydo.Giventhis,itislikelythat therearemanystudentsinthefullpricecategoryinthesefourschoolswhoareactuallyeligiblefor freeorreducedpricemeals.

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1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

schoolA schoolB schoolC schoolD

schoolD schoolC schoolB schoolA

FOUR SCHOOLS WHERE LOW PARTICIPATION BY STUDENTS PAYING FULL PRICE RESULTS IN AN NSLP LINE WITH ALMOST ONLY LOW-INCOME STUDENTS

Howtoreadthischart:Eachschoolisrepresentedbyadifferentcolorandthe variablesrepresentenrollment,eligibility,andaveragedailyparticipationbycategoryin October2008foreachschool.SchoolAisblue.Ofanenrollmentofabout900,about 140studentseatNSLPlunchdailybutonlytwoofthosestudentsonaveragewillnotbe lowincome. Thechartisprovidedtoshowrelativecomparisons,notexactnumbers, inordertoprotecttheanonymityoftheschools.

30 Woodland Ave . San Francisco . CA . 94117 . 415-706-8094 . www.campaignforbetternutrition.org

Schools with Open Campuses Had Significantly Less NSLP Participation. · Studyresultsindicatethatschoolswithopencampuseshad16percentage pointslessparticipationinNSLPmealsthanthosewithclosedcampuses (38%comparedto54%).

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Thisisconsistentwithotherresearchshowingthatclosingcampusesduringmeal time,sothatstudentshavetoeatlunchatschool,significantlyincreases participationinNSLPforallstudents,includinglowincome.8Whenstudentsare allowedtoleavecampustoeatlunch,thelowincomestudentswhoneedtotake advantageoftheNSLP'sfreemealscanbetheonlyonesleftatschool.Thisisas obvious,ifnotmore,ashavingtwoserviceareasintheschoolwhereoneconsistsof thelowestincomestudents,thosewillingtoriskbeingstigmatizedaspoorinorder togetfreemeals. EventhoughclosingaschoolcampusissuccessfulatincreasingNSLPparticipation, manyschoolsarguethatpoliticallyorlogisticallytheycannotclosetheircampus. Somedonothaveadequatefacilitiestofeedallthestudentsoncampus,somegive "offsiteprivileges"asrewardsorrecognitionofrank(e.g.,graduatingseniors),and stillothersmayhavestudentbodiesthatareaccustomedtothefreedomofanopen campusandwouldopposeclosingitvehemently.TheUSDAreportsthat25%of highschoolsnationwideallowallorsomestudentsoffcampuslunchprivileges.9 Anotherstudy10foundthat46%ofhighschoolsinCaliforniahadfullorpartialopen campuses. Studentswhoeatoffsitearemorelikelytoeatlesshealthylunchesthanstudents whodonoteatNSLPlunches,11astheychoosefromaselectionoffastfoods, uncontrolledfordietaryvalue.TheNSLP,incontrast,requiresthatmealsmeet certainnutritionstandardsbasedontheDietaryGuidelinesforAmericans.In general,studentswhoconsumeNSLPmealseatmorefruitsandvegetablesthan thosewhodonot.12Ironically,opencampuspoliciescanresultinpoorerdietsbyall highschoolstudentsbytakingmoneyoutoftheprogramandthiscouldthwart

8USDA'sSchoolNutritionDietaryAssessmentStudyIII,(14percentofstudentsreportedtheydidnot

participateintheNSLPbecausetheyateoffcampus) Seealso,Gleason,P.,"ParticipationintheNationalSchoolLunchProgramandSchoolBreakfast Program,"AmericanJournalofClinicalNutrition,1995:table3p.216S. "ParticipationintheNationalSchoolLunchProgram:LosAngelesCounty,19962001,"Universityof LaVernepublisher,2004. Miura,M.,OfftheMap:ExtracurricularSchoolFoodOpenCampusLunch,PublicHealthAdvocacy Institute,February2009. 9SNDAIII. 10Craypo,L.,Samuels,S.,andPurcell,A.,The2003CaliforniaFastFoodSurvey,Samuels&Associates forPublicHealthInstitute2003:p.4. 11Miura,M.,p.2. 12USDAFNS,DietQualityofAmericanSchoolAgeChildrenbySchoolLunchParticipationStatus: DatafromtheNationalHealthandNutritionExaminationSurvey(Summary),July2008.

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nationaleffortstoimprovestudenthealththroughimprovingthenutritionprofileof NSLPmeals.AswiththeseparatedNSLPandàlacartemealservice,opencampus policiesatpublichighschoolswarrantnationalattention. Most Schools With POS Also Accept Cash as Payment. 84%ofschoolsreportedusingPOSsystemsforstudentpayments,andof those, o 6.7%hadeliminatedcashpaymentsfromthecafeteriacompletely, o 92.0%acceptedbothcashandelectronicpayment,and o 2.0%hadeliminatedcashpaymentsforreimbursablemealsbut acceptcashforàlacartefoods. POSsystemsallowallstudentstousethesamepaymentmethod--suchasacardor personalidentificationnumber.Nocashisneededbecauseparentsorstudentsmay prepaytheirmeals(overtheInternet,inpersonatschool,bycheckthroughthe mail,etc.)viaaPOSaccountmanagedbythedistrict.Forthisreason,POSsystems usuallyarethoughtofasmechanismstodecreaseovertidentificationoflowincome students;sinceallstudentsareusingthesamepaymentmethod,theyshouldbe indistinguishablefromeachotherwhentheypayformeals.Inoursurvey,however, mostrespondentswithPOSwerestillacceptingcashpaymentsinthecafeteria, potentiallysettingupadifferentiatedpaymentsystemthatvisiblyidentifieslow incomestudents. Itispossiblethatsomeofthe92%acceptingbothcashandelectronicpaymentare notovertlyidentifyinglowincomestudents.Thatdependsonhowmanyofthe studentsatanindividualschoolpayingfullpricearepayingincash.Ifmorethan halfare,thenthereislessofaconcernofovertidentificationwiththeuseofcashin thecafeteria.Itisthecohortofschoolswherelessthanhalfofstudentspayingfull pricearepayingincashthatisofconcernbecauseatsomepointtheprepaid accountsareusedsoinfrequentlythatthepaymentsystembecomesanoutward identificationoftheincomestatus.

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SchoolwithPOSsystems:typesof paymentmethodsallowed

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% NocashallowedforNSLPor NocashallowedforNSLP alacarte mealsonly POSandCashallowedfor NSLPandAlaCarte

TheUSDA'sMealCostStudy13illuminatesthisissueinmoredetail.WhentheUSDA askedwhatpercentageofstudentspayingformealsuseaprepaidaccount(thus eliminatingcashfromthecafeteriatransaction),oftheschoolsthatresponded, 20%hadallprepaidaccounts(i.e.,hadcashlesscafeterias), 42%hadmorethanhalfprepaidaccounts, 26%hadlessthanhalfprepaidaccounts,and 8%hadnoprepaymentsatall.14 TheNationalSchoolLunchActclearlyprohibitstheuseofdifferentiatedpayment methodsforstudents. Nophysicalsegregationoforotherdiscriminationagainstanychildeligible forafreelunchorareducedpricelunchunderthissubsection[establishing incomeeligibilityguidelines]shallbemadebytheschoolnorshallthere[be] anyovertidentificationofanychildbyspecialtokensortickets,announcedor publishedlistsofnames,orbyothermeans.42U.S.C.§1758(b)(10)(emphasis added). Theolddifferentiatedpaymentsystemsinvolvedcoloredticketsortokens.Under POS,thenewdifferentiatedpaymentmethodiscash--whenthepooreststudentsdo notuseitandtheotherstudentsdo--whichisasdistinguishingashavingdifferent coloredticketstoindicateincomestatus.

13MealCostStudy,Chapter6,p.9. 143%responded"don'tknow"ordidnotrespond.

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The8%ofschoolsintheMealCostStudythatdonothaveanypayingstudentsusing prepaidaccountsaremostlikelytobecausingovertidentification.15The20%with allprepaidaccountsareclearlydecreasingovertidentificationbyeliminating differentiatedpaymentsystemsaltogether.And,itisreasonabletoassumethatthe 42%ofschoolsinwhichoverhalfofpaidNSLPmealsarepurchasedwithprepaid accountsalsodonothaveanovertidentificationproblemcausedbyacceptingcash inthecafeteria. Thoseschoolsinthe26%groupwithlessthanhalfusingprepaidaccounts, however,needtobemorecloselyexamined.Justasintheschoolswithseparate NSLPandcompetitivefoodservice,whereonlyahandfulofstudentspayingfull priceareintheNSLPline,atsomepoint,theprepaidaccountsareusedso infrequentlythatthepaymentsystembecomesanoutwardidentificationofthe incomestatusofthestudentbecausesofewstudentspayingfullpriceuseaprepaid studentaccount. Thereareotheradvantagestoremovingcashfromaschoolfoodservicepayment systembesideseliminatingovertidentification.Cashshortagesoccurforanumber ofreasons,includingstudentsandschoolstaffwhoaresupposedtopayformeals butsometimesdonot.Inaddition,districtshavetopayforafeetothebankforcash collection,counts,anddeposits.Thesecashshortagesandunnecessaryfeeshavea directnegativeeffectonmealquality. TheUSDA'sMealCostStudyshowsthathavingallstudentsprepayformealsis attainable,asafull20%ofschoolsintheirsurveydoso.16Prepaymentdoesnot requireparentstohaveacomputerwithInternetaccessathome.Aparentora studentcanpayinpersonwiththeschoolsecretary,electronicallyusingoneofthe schoolcomputersinthetechnologylab,orwithacheckthroughthemail. Though thereareconcernsaboutstudentsrunninguplargenegativebalanceswithprepaid accounts,theproblemwouldbesimilartohavingstudentsshowupwithout paymentunderasystemthatacceptscash.Theproblemofnonpaymentisthe sameregardlessofthepaymentsystem.UnderPOS,though,itwouldbeeasierfor thedistricttoknowwhichstudentsarenotpayingformealsandfollowupwith parentstogetthemtocompleteaFRPapplicationorrequestpayment.

15Itispossibletohavethispaymentprofilewithoutexasperatingovertidentification.Forexample,

theàlacarteprogrammayofferonlysecondhelpingsofthereimbursablemealoritmayofferonly freshfruit. 16MealCostStudy,p.69.

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Conclusion and Recommendations

Itiscommoninmodernschoollunchprogramstohaveacompetitivefoodservicein additiontoNSLPmeals,opencampuses,andelectronicPOSpaymentsystems.The reasonsgivenforusingthemaretoincreaserevenues,expandmealchoice,simplify accounting,andmeetstudentdemand.Unfortunately,thesepracticesmaybe increasingovertidentificationoflowincomestudentsandaffectingtheirhealthas studentsskipmealsandgooffcampusinsteadofeatingtypicallyhealthierNSLP meals. Overtidentificationisillegalandharmful.Skippinglunchatschoolnegatively affectsastudent'sabilitytolearninadditiontotheirhealth.Congressisclearinthe NSLAthatstudents'incomestatusmustbeprotected.Segregatingcompetitiveand NSLPfoodserviceorhavingdifferenttypesofstudentpaymentsforlowincome studentsisprohibitediftheycauseovertidentification,whichtheymostoftendo.It isnotcleariftheUSDAhasjurisdictionoveropencampuspoliciesbuttheissue shouldbeevaluatedfurther,asopencampusescandividestudentsjustasreadilyas separateservicelinesifstudentswithhigherincomesdineoffcampusleavinglow incomestudentsbehind. Themosteffectiveapproachtoeliminatingthispotentialforovertidentificationis to: (1) DisallowdistrictsusingPOSsystemstoacceptcashpaymentsinthe cafeteria.Thiswillresolvetheovertidentificationproblemofdifferentiated paymentsystemsandimprovethefinancialmanagementofschoolmeal programs. (2) Eliminatecompetitivefoodprogramsorlimitàlacarteofferingsto itemsthatcomplementtheNSLPsuchasmilk,extrafruit,water,and secondsofthereimbursablemeal.Inadditiontoseparateservinglines, differentfoodofferingsalsocanbeasourceofovertidentification.Thebest practiceistomakeallfoodservedinthecafeteriaaccessibletoallstudents. Forstudentswhoareextrahungryonagivendayorneedasupplementto foodbroughtfromhome,milk,fruit,andsecondhelpingsofthereimbursable mealcouldbemadeavailable. (3) Encourageorincentivizeschoolstoclosetheircampuses,iftheyhave thecapacitytoservemealstoalltheirstudents. CongressandtheUSDAshouldtakeadvantageoftheupcoming2010 reauthorizationoftheNationalSchoolLunchActtodiscussovertidentificationin themodernlunchprogram.Theyshouldmakeitaprioritytodeveloplegislative andregulatorylanguageprotectinglowincomestudentsfromthestigmaand

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shameofbeingidentifiedaspoorsimplybecausetheyeatschoollunch.Congress shouldrequestthattheUSDAissuenewregulationsandguidelinesonovert identificationwithin12monthsandestablishaspecialtaskforceanddistrictlevel grantstohelpdistrictscomeintocompliancewiththelaw.

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