The state Board of Education voted Wednesday to give schools exemptions to sell unhealthy snacks during in-school fundraisers during 90 of 180 school days each year.
According to The Herald newspaper of Rock Hill the issue came about when the federal Smart Snacks in Schools regulations banned the selling of unhealthy food through in-school fundraisers if that food was to be consumed on the school campus during school hours. That includes morning Chick-fil-A biscuit sales by the PTO or Daddies and Donuts drop-ins to help pay for school improvements, but not take-home cookie dough or concession stands at sporting events.
Those federal regulations, however, allowed states to grant exemptions for fundraising programs. As of late July, 33 states had indicated they wouldn’t seek exemptions.
South Carolina originally was in that list, but the Department of Education decided to exempt up to 30 fundraisers, lasting up to 30 days each.
The S.C. Medical Association, Eat Smart Move More SC and several other groups led letter-writing campaigns against the exemptions. Those health advocates point out that the current S.C. exemption would be one of the most lenient in the country.
Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia grant no exemptions. Another nine grant fewer than 10 exemption days. The most exemptions allowed currently are in Georgia (90 days), Pennsylvania (50 days), Wyoming (50 days), Illinois (36 days for high schools, nine for grades K-8) and Tennessee (30 days).