Let the baking begin!

Schools once again can hold fundraising bake sales following the adoption of Colbeck legislation

LANSING, Mich. — Schools in Michigan are again free to host traditional fundraisers, such as bake sales, following the governor’s signing of Senate Bill 139.

The legislation was introduced by state Sen. Patrick Colbeck to counter the strict mandates imposed by the federal government on local school districts.

SB 139, now Public Act 42 of 2015, directs the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to return the decision-making authority back to schools with regard to the types of food they sell at fundraisers.

Colbeck, R-Canton, became aware of the issue when he was approached by a Boy Scout at an event in his district who questioned why his troop was no longer allowed to sell brownies at his school to raise money.

Colbeck discovered that a federal regulation that went into effect this past fall as part of Michelle Obama’s plan to make school food healthier allowed the MDE to dictate the number of “non-compliant” fundraisers schools may hold during school hours on school property.

“This new law reclaims local control over foods that can be sold at fundraisers,” Colbeck said. “School districts now have the option of holding up to two fundraisers per week that are not compliant with the list of acceptable foods per the so-called ‘Smart Snacks’ initiative.

“Hats off to Boy Scouts and Canton Charter Academy students Will Cothron and Kevin Kapanowski for bringing this issue to my attention. And a special thank you to Canton Charter Academy parent Lori Levi for her compelling testimony before the Senate and House Education Policy committees on behalf of the legislation.”

Colbeck said a non-compliant fundraiser is the sale of any food not on the federally approved “Smart Snack” list. Most of the foods traditionally sold to raise money for school activities, such as baked goods, are not on the approved list.

“The MDE decided to allow zero non-compliant fundraisers across the board, severely limiting the ability of students to raise money for school trips, sports teams and other organizations,” Colbeck said. “In essence, this has meant the end of almost all food sales for fundraising events. Control is now back in the hands of the schools, parents and administrators.”

As SB 139 made its way through the legislative process, Boy Scouts William Cothron and Kevin Kapanowski, who originally brought the issue to Colbeck’s attention, testified before the House Education Committee in favor of the bill.

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Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, welcomed two local Boy Scouts and Canton Academy students to testify about the limitations on selling baked goods at their school.

Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, welcomed two local Boy Scouts and Canton Academy students to testify about the limitations on selling baked goods at their school.