FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — Booster clubs and PTAs throughout the Fairfield-Suisun School District are on edge ahead of a vote that could change the way they raise funds.
Federal guidelines now prohibit non-nutritious food from being sold or advertised on campus, and if a district doesn’t comply, it could lose millions of dollars in funding.
“This is something that people look forward to every year,” said Crescent Elementary School President Michele Chapman.
It’s been a fall fundraiser for the Crescent Elementary school PTA for years—Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and treats, a favorite among family and friends of students.
“We’ve even had parents request that we do it twice a year.”
But, getting the word out to them may not be so easy anymore. On Thursday, school district board members will vote on a new policy that would ban all advertisements and sales of fundraisers that promote non-nutritious food in or around campus during school hours.
“It would mean a drastic cut in PTA funding. Drastic,” said Chapman.
The new rules would mean students can no longer be sent home with food fundraising packets to give to their parents. They can also no longer sell the sweet treats to their classmates on campus. The district says it’s a move to fully follow federal laws and prevent potentially losing $13 million in federal funding for the National School Lunch Program.
“Would we lose all of that? Not likely, but any portion of that could be taken away if auditors find us not in compliance,” said Tim Goree, Executive Director of Administrative Services and Community Engagement.
Chapman says the change could cut her PTA’s profits in half, a loss of several thousand dollars. That means fewer field trips, assemblies and science camps for students. Last year, she says the PTA donated $5,000 toward technology for the school, almost double the entire technology budget. She’s now worried the federal nutrition rules will hurt critical resources, by limiting valuable fundraisers.
“It gets harder and harder to raise funds to bridge the gap between what the school district can supply and what our students need,” said Chapman.
The district says it’s trying to compile a list of nutritious foods and other items that can be used for fundraisers, but these groups say they want to stick to what they know works. Again, the school board will vote on the new policy Thursday night.