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INGRID JACQUES

Editor’s Note: Selling cookies at schools? Good luck

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

When a Boy Scout approached state Sen. Patrick Colbeck at a recent event, the Canton Republican was surprised to learn what the young man had to say.

The student asked why he could no longer hold fundraisers for his organization at school.

Good question.

As Colbeck, along with parents and students, are discovering, Michigan schools have cracked down on food sold at fundraisers during the school day.

The strict new limits for school lunches under the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act started spilling over to include snacks, bake sales and other fundraisers last fall.

That means unless students are selling bananas for a cause, they are out of luck. Anything that resembles a cookie or some other tasty treat is likely off limits. Because, after all, the government knows best.

Michigan law doesn’t allow public schools to opt out of the federal school lunch program, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does provide states some flexibility related to fundraisers.

The Michigan Department of Education didn’t include any exemptions, however, so the federal “smart snacks” rules currently apply across the board.

That’s why Colbeck has introduced a bill that would provide schools as much flexibility as possible, while still abiding by federal rules. Under his bill, schools could allow three fundraising activities a week that depart from the standards.

Thank goodness for some common sense.