Nutritional guidelines icing out bakesales 

Bake sales were once the quintessential way to raise money for school activities. Now, thanks to new federal "wellness policies," they may be going the way of the dodo.

Those policies require all schools in America to restrict students’ access to unhealthy foods during the school day. Those rules take effect this fall, along with two California laws effective July 1 that require schools to phase out sodas and fattening snacks over the next two years.

One unanticipated side effect is that such policies could spell the death of that time-honored tradition in which parents whip up a batch of cookies or brownies to raise money for their child’s next field trip.

"It has already started," said Diane Go, president of the parent-teacher association for the Jefferson elementary and high schools in Daly City.

In the San Francisco Unified School District, officials and parents reached a compromise that allows schools to run 10 evening bake sales each year at events like back-to-school nights, where parents are more likely to supervise their children’s purchases, according to Dana Woldow, chairwoman of the San Francisco School District Student Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee. Baked snacks will no longer be sold in San Francisco’s schools during the school day.

"We found that kids were saving their lunch money and using it to buy cookies and brownies, and not telling their parents," Woldow said.

Many high schools, including those in the Sequoia High School District, raise money for student activities by selling donuts and sweets from the student store. The district has not yet started implementing the new nutrition policies, and it’s unclear how much money in sales will be lost when the changeover happens, according to Kathy Soulard, treasurer for student fundraising at Woodside High School.

"Our students will sell $1,000worth of candy, the Polynesian club sells candy leis, and a couple of times a year we do an all-school picnic with ethnic food sales," Soulard said. "The policy is going to have a major impact."

But with the new regulations, schools are already beginning to turn to other fundraising options, from "walk-a-thons" and "math-a-thons" to sales of stickers and toys. The loss of bake sales should not be mourned, according to Woldow.

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Beth Winegarner

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