State School Board Allows Student Fundraiser Candy Sale Exemptions

The Oklahoma State School Board of Education met Friday to discuss student fundraisers, among other topics. 

Friday, October 17th 2014, 4:47 pm

By: News 9

A crackdown on schools' food-based fundraisers was lifted Friday afternoon.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education decided to allow schools to sell whatever they want, despite federal restrictions, as long as it does not exceed 14 school days.

The board ruled to allow 30 student fundraisers per semester to sell their traditional snacks and treats.

"I actually had students come up and say, 'Oh, we're not going to be able to sell food? Is BALTO canceled?' So that's how big food sales are," said Edmond north high school junior Rachel Funderburk.

Funderburk also is the chair of the annual BALTO week fundraiser. She said food sales rake in the dough for charity.

"They bring in a lot of money last year we saw almost $10,000 come in one day," said Christina Li, treasurer for BALTO week.

But Oklahoma schools traditional bake sales were about to end, based on new federal restrictions.

The USDA "Smart Snacks in Schools" standards states any food schools sell must include:

  • Whole grain-rich product
  • Fruits or vegetables
  • Food must also meet Calorie, Sodium, Fat and Sugar limits.

The only drinks allowed for sale are:

  • Water
  • Unflavored lowfat or fat free milk, or milk alternative.
  • 100% Fruit or Vegetable juice

"Guidelines are great in a lot of ways, but I think that five days getting some food to raise money for charity really isn't going to hurt anyone," Funderburk said.

Edmond North Student Council Advisor Brian Hunter even submitted his own proposal to the school board, hoping it would consider to adding exemptions to the rules.

"The current guidelines the way they are now just take away choice from parents and from students and they ought to have some measure of choice," said Hunter, who has advised the student group for 11 years.

Hunter and students made their voices heard at the State Board of Education meeting. They were joined with dozens of parents and educators from different school districts, including Norman and Oklahoma City.

And by the end, the Board ruled in the schools' favor, and allowed exemptions to the federal restrictions.

"Motion carried. Congratulations to all of our young activists, we're very excited that you all came," said State Superintendent Janet Barresi.

The Board's plan also stated that no fundraiser can be held during school meal periods, and each district will be able to develop its own process for the implementation of the policy.


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