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Requesting a Summer and/or Saturday Meal Waiver


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Action Required, Beneficial Information
To: Public School Districts
County Offices of Education
Number: NSD-SNP-03-2013
Attention: Superintendents
Food Service Directors
Date: February 2013
Subject: Requesting a Summer School Meal Waiver and/or a Saturday School Meal Waiver for 2013 School Sessions
Reference: Assembly Bill 2555 (2012); California Education Code sections 33050, 49548, 49550, and 49556; and Management Bulletin NSD-SNP-19-2012
Supersedes: Management Bulletins NSD-SNP-01-2007 and NSD-SNP-07-2012

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides school districts and county superintendents of schools the forms and information necessary to request a waiver of California Education Code (EC) Section 49550 for summer and/or Saturday school sessions.

Important Change to Waiver Deadlines

Assembly Bill 2555, chaptered on September 19, 2012, amended EC Section 49548 to require that local educational agencies submit their waiver requests no later than 60 days prior to the last State Board of Education (SBE) meeting that occurs prior to the commencement of a district or county office of education’s (COE) summer school session. This amendment took effect on January 1, 2013. Previously, requests for a waiver to EC Section 49550 were due no later than 30 days prior to the last SBE meeting that occurs prior to the commencement of a district or COE’s summer school session.

Waiver History

Public schools must meet one of three conditions in order to receive approval to waive the requirement to provide a meal during summer school sessions as specified in EC Section 49550. The conditions are detailed later in this MB.

The deadline for submitting waiver requests to the California Department of Education (CDE) this year is March 8, 2013. However, early submission of waiver requests will allow the Nutrition Services Division to provide an optimal level of technical assistance to requestors and, in the case of a denial, permits the district/county sufficient time to plan for summer meal preparation.

EC Section 49550 requires that public school districts and COEs “maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, shall provide for each needy pupil one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each school day...” EC Section 49552 defines a needy child as one meeting federal eligibility criteria for free or reduced-price meals. This requirement extends to summer school and Saturday classes. The meal can be breakfast or lunch, and it must meet the federal meal pattern requirements.

Schools providing meals during summer and/or Saturday school that are participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) must make meals available to all students in attendance. These schools are eligible to receive reimbursement for qualifying meals under the NSLP or SBP. Schools that have a State Meal Program agreement receive reimbursement only for meals served to needy pupils.

School Meal Options

In order to meet the meal requirement of EC Section 49550, schools may serve breakfast or lunch to summer and/or Saturday school students. Districts that serve breakfast at summer and/or Saturday school site(s) are in compliance with EC Section 49550 and a waiver is not necessary. If the summer and/or Saturday school site(s) is not approved for the SBP, the district may submit a revised School Nutrition Programs (SNP) site application online in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) to add the site(s) to the district’s SBP agreement. If the district does not participate in the SBP and wishes to apply, please contact your SNP analyst. You can find your analyst in the SNP County Caseload (Form SNP 20) list, located in the Download Forms section in the CNIPS.

Districts may also participate in the Seamless Summer Feeding Option (SSFO) in order to meet the meal requirement of EC Section 49550 for summer schools. This federal option allows schools participating in the SSFO to serve meals free of charge to all summer school students as well as other community children. To qualify for the SSFO, the school must be in a community where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and the summer meal service is open to community children. All meals served can be claimed as free meals and reimbursed at the free rate under the NSLP. For more information about this option, please contact your SNP analyst.

Summer School Meal Waiver Criteria

School sites operating a summer school session may be granted a waiver if they meet one of the following three conditions:

Condition One

Elementary schools shall be granted a waiver if a Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) site is available within one-half mile of the school site. Middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools shall be granted a waiver if an SFSP site is available within one mile of the school site. Additionally, one of the following conditions must exist:

  1. The hours of operation of the SFSP site commence no later than one-half hour after the completion of the summer school session day.
  2. The hours of operation of the SFSP site conclude no earlier than one hour after the completion of the summer school session day.

For purposes of this section of law, “‘elementary school’ means a public school that maintains kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 8, inclusive.”

All condition one waiver requests must be accompanied by a Condition One form, which can be downloaded from the CDE Attachment for Waivers Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/wr/attachments.asp.

Condition Two   

Schools shall be granted a waiver if serving meals during the summer school session would result in a financial loss to the school district, documented in a financial analysis performed by the school district, in an amount equal to one-third of the net cash resources as defined in Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 210.2, which, for purposes of this section of law, shall exclude funds that are encumbered. If there are no net cash resources, the financial loss must be equal to the operating costs of one month as averaged over the summer school sessions.

NOTE: The financial analysis must include a projection of future meal program participation based on either of the following:

  1. The meal service period beginning after the commencement of the summer school session day and concluding before the completion of the summer school session day. In other words, districts must project profit or loss based on serving a breakfast or a lunch during school hours and not before or after the school day.
  2. The school site operating as an open SSFO or a SFSP site, and providing adequate notification thereof, including flyers and banners, in order to fulfill community needs under the SSFO or SFSP.

All condition two waiver requests must be accompanied by a Condition Two worksheet, which can be downloaded from the CDE Attachment for Waivers Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/wr/attachments.asp.

Condition Three

Summer school sites that operate two hours or less, including breaks and recess, shall be granted a waiver.

All waiver requestors must submit the Summer Meal Waiver Request Supplemental Form, which can be downloaded from the CDE Attachment for Waivers Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/wr/attachments.asp. A school district must submit waiver requests using the CDE’s Waiver Request Web page at https://www2.cde.ca.gov/waiverweb/logon.aspx. All required attachments should be completed and then uploaded to the online waiver request system.

Districts may be required to provide additional supporting documentation for each school site operating a summer school session depending on the qualifying waiver condition. It is important to note that a school district operating multiple summer school sessions may be approved for one or more but not all summer school sites. In the event that a waiver request is denied for some sites, the school district will be required to provide meals to students participating in summer school at those sites.

In the event that a school district or county superintendent of schools has failed to comply with the provisions of this article, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall certify such noncompliance to the Attorney General (EC Section 49556). The Attorney General shall conduct such investigations as necessary to document the noncompliance.

Saturday School Meal Waiver Criteria

The SBE also grants Saturday school meal waivers if two of the following criteria exist:

  1. The Saturday school session is less than four hours in duration and is completed by noon, allowing pupils to go home during the lunch period.
  2. Less than 10 percent of the needy pupils attending the Saturday school session are at the school site for more than three hours per day.
  3. The Saturday school site does not have proper refrigeration facilities to enable meals to be prepared on Friday and served on Saturday.
  4. Serving meals during the Saturday school session would result in a financial loss to the school district, documented by the district, in an amount equal to one-third of the food service’s net cash resources.

Items A, B, and C above apply to individual school sites operating a Saturday school program. Item D applies to the school district.

All Saturday school meal waiver requestors must submit their requests using the CDE’s Waiver Request Web page at https://www2.cde.ca.gov/waiverweb/logon.aspx. In addition, requesting districts must submit the Saturday School Meal Waiver Request Supplemental Form, which may be requested from Donna Reedy, School Nutrition Programs Analyst, by e-mail at dreedy@cde.ca.gov. It is important to note that a school district operating multiple Saturday school sessions may be approved for one or more Saturday school sites but not receive a waiver for all Saturday school sites. In the event that the waiver request is denied for some sites, the school district will be required to provide meals to students participating in Saturday school at those sites.

Saturday school meal waiver requests must be submitted via the online system no later than two months prior to the starting date of the Saturday school session.

California Department of Education Calendar for Submission of Saturday School Waiver Requests

The Waiver Calendar is located on the CDE’s 2013 Waiver Calendar Web page at [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/wr/calendar2013.asp.] [Note: the preceding link is no longer valid.]

A Saturday school waiver that is granted for two consecutive years remains in effect permanently, provided the information contained in the original request has not changed. Examples of such changes are sites starting new Saturday programs or sites removed from existing Saturday programs.

General Information

Before making a recommendation, the CDE may send requests for additional documentation depending upon the condition or criteria under which each site is attempting to qualify.

The CDE Waiver Office will notify the school district of the SBE scheduled hearing date. The letter will also give the CDE’s recommendation for each site’s waiver request. If the CDE recommends denial of the request, the district will have the right to either withdraw the waiver and provide the meals or attend the SBE meeting to present a response to the CDE’s recommendation.                                                                                                           

The SBE will notify the school district of the waiver’s final disposition by mail following the hearing.

For information on the receipt or hearing date of your waiver request, or assistance with the online waiver request system, please contact the CDE Waiver Office by phone at 916-319-0824 or by e-mail at waiver@cde.ca.gov. If you have any questions about the summer and/or Saturday school meal waiver process, contact Donna Reedy, School Nutrition Programs Analyst, by phone at 916-327-5866 or by e-mail at dreedy@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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