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Mitchell School Board member participates in USDA round-table regarding school nutrition programs

Mitchell School Board vice-president Neil Putnam and other local school officials from around the country recently participated in a round-table discussion with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in Washington regarding improving school lunch programs.

The meeting was part of Perdue’s effort to enact reforms to make school lunches more appealing by giving more control to the school districts who know the children best.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue meets stakeholders during a school lunch roundtable at the United States Department of Agriculture Whitten building on September 20, 2018. USDA photo by Tom Witham

“School boards have an integral role in implementing school meal programs but we should not be the cupcake police,” said Neil Putnam, National School Boards Association Director and Vice President of the Mitchell Board of Education, South Dakota.  “I appreciate U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s interest in hearing directly from locally elected school board members who are on the front lines of providing affordable nutritious meals to students.  In my view, increased flexibility and decreased regulations will help local school districts reduce food waste and costs and will increase student participation in school meal programs.”

The Secretary’s roundtable was held in advance of the publication of the final rule on Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements, targeted for release later this year.