Chick-fil-A fundraisers at a cash-starved elementary school in South Carolina are in limbo as the state’s board of education spars with health officials over the nutritional value of the biscuits – which fall below federal guidelines.
The parent-teacher organization at Midway Elementary School in Lexington raises $6,000 annually through biscuit sales to finance school field trips and supplies.
“We don’t do this because we love doing it and it’s fun,” Anne Marie Green, president of the Midway PTO, told The State. “We do it because the schools need the funds.”
Federal Smart Snack guidelines, which went into effect this year as the latest step in the fight against childhood obesity, ban fundraisers like the selling of Chick-fil-A biscuits because their sodium content is above healthy levels.
The guidelines allow states to ask for a set number of exemption days when non-healthy snacks can be sold, and the South Carolina Board of Education told school districts in the summer that they could proceed with a limited number of food-related fundraisers, The State reports.
South Carolina health leaders such as Eat Smart Move More SC and the S.C. Medical Association are pushing for no exemptions. The organizations went into lobbying mode in October after the state board voted on the issue and approved 90 days’ worth of exemptions.
A second vote on the proposal has been delayed for two months as both sides look to make a compromise and seek out alternative fundraisers.
Almost 40 percent of children ages 10-17 in South Carolina are either overweight or obese, The State reports.
Lexington School District 1, which oversees Midway Elementary School, told PTO leaders that one Chick-fil-A event could be held each month from October through December. But in 2015, the PTO isn’t sure about what to do with its planned January sale, hoping the state would have a policy in place by now.
“The kids love them,” Ashley Cooper, a parent, told the newspaper. “They can eat them now or save them for a snack. I mean it’s a Chick-fil-A biscuit. It doesn’t have bacon or cheese or all of that stuff on it.”