House Bill 803, Healthy and High Performance Schools Act, is a lengthy bill filled with mind-numbing amounts of detail in an attempt to micro-manage the lives of schoolchildren. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland), and Rep. Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg).
A sampling of what is included in HB 803 includes:
- An attempt to define – to the milligram – what is a “healthy” breakfast or lunch
- Extra reimbursement would be provided to schools serving meals that meet these exacting specifications
- Extra reimbursement for schools serving “locally grown” food in their meals
- But schools must provide the names and addresses of the food providers to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)
- Instructions on the number of minutes of physical activity in which children should engage. The bill outlines specific times for different grade levels
- The bill also attempts to define and differentiate “moderate to vigorous physical activity” from other forms of exercise
- Specific requirements of how many minutes of “health education” instruction students shall receive according to grade level
- The creation of an “environmental programs” office at DPI
- The establishment of a “School Gardens Program” at DPI, which will encourage and monitor the creation of gardens on school grounds. Produce grown in the gardens – if determined to be safe – would be served to students. The program would “collect data on the location and types of gardens” in the schools.
The scope and reach of HB 803 is vast and intrusive. Moreover, the reporting and monitoring requirements are dizzying. With more than 2,500 schools across the state, it is difficult to comprehend how much paperwork and bureaucracy would be required to comply with all of the micromanaging included in HB 803. The amount of time, resources and new bureaucrats needed would place an untold strain on taxpayers and school staff.
For these reasons, HB 803 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.