Editor’s Note: School bake sales safe for now

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Bake sales at schools have gotten the green light from the Legislature, meaning children across the state can once again turn to cookies and brownies to help them raise money for causes, assuming Gov. Rick Snyder approves. And he should.

If this seems a silly matter for lawmakers, blame the federal government. Michigan public schools started strictly limiting what food could be sold at fundraisers during the school day to abide by regulations in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The law governs what schools can sell students at breakfast and lunch, in addition to snacks and bake sales.

Michigan public schools can’t escape the federal school lunch program, thanks to a state provision, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does offer states some flexibility related to fundraisers. Yet the Michigan Department of Education didn’t include any exemptions for bake sales when the calorie limits took effect last year, forcing schools to apply the same guidelines to goodies sold at fundraisers.

Under this legislation, schools could allow at least two fundraisers a week that don’t abide by the federal rules. That’s progress, giving local districts and parents more control over bake sales, which they should have had in the first place.