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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Adam Putnam steals school lunch from Department of Education



The federal government has granted Commissioner Adam Putnam's request to move oversight of school food and nutrition programs to his agency, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Florida will become one of three states to oversee the programs outside of its education department. The others are Texas and New Jersey.

Putnam made the transfer his priority during the 2011 session, arguing his agency is better suited for the role because of its relationships with state farmers.

The Florida Department of Education formally asked for the waiver in July. In a Friday letter, USDA Regional Administrator Donald Arnette said his staff will monitor the program's transition and performance.

"As stated in my previous correspondence, our primary concern is the effective and efficient administration of our programs, and we are committed to working with both state agencies to that end," Arnette wrote.

The waiver expires in three years and starts in January, when the agriculture department formally takes over.



[Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2011 3:20pm]


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