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Guidance, Manuals, and Resources

The most recent guidance manuals, management bulletins, and other materials needed for proper administration of the School Nutrition Programs (SNP).

Guidance | Manuals | Resources


Administrative Review
Includes information, regulations, procedures, and updates on the School Nutrition Programs administrative review.

Cafeteria Fund Guidance
Provides School Food Authorities (SFA) with information and instructions pertaining to federal and State statutes and regulations that govern school cafeteria funds.

Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) policies and procedures about nondiscrimination in the administration of the child nutrition and food distribution programs.

Direct Certification
A federally mandated process that sponsors must use to certify school-age recipients of CalFresh and CalWORKs benefits as eligible for free school meals without further application.

Disaster Relief Guidelines for School Food Services
Providing meals to children and food to affected communities during State or federally declared disasters.

Eligibility Materials
Applications, forms, and other materials for school meal, milk, and State Meal Program eligibility.

Ensuring Adequate Time to Eat
Resources and information to help local educational agencies (LEA) ensure that students have adequate seated time to eat their meal after being served.

Forms and completed sample forms for use by School Nutrition Programs sponsors.

General Information Sheets
Information to assist sponsors with program administration.

Information Alerts
SNP information alerts organized by calendar year.

Management Bulletins
SNP management bulletins organized by calendar year.

Nutrition Requirements
Information and resources on menu planning, preparation documentation, and meal patterns for sponsors participating in the in the SNP.

Payment Information and Forms
Fiscal information to aid nutrition sponsors and to provide information about claiming meal reimbursements.

Providing Meals During an H1N1 School Closure
Sponsors approved for Meal Programs may continue to provide reimbursable meals to low-income children during school closures and/or student dismissals caused by the H1N1 influenza virus.


School Nutrition Programs Provisions 1, 2, and 3, and the Community Eligibility Provision are alternative ways for local educational agencies to claim student meals.

School Menu Planning Options
Information and resources on the new Food-Based Menu Planning approach for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast program.

Verification Materials
School Nutrition Programs verification materials including applications, forms, and materials for the annual, mandatory verification process for eligibility of a sample of completed household meal eligibility applications.

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USDA Manuals
  • Eligibility Manual for School Meals External link opens in new window or tab.
    Guidance from the USDA for determining children's eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.
    Note: Management Bulletin with additional information specific to California pending.
  • Food Buying Guide External link opens in new window or tab.
    USDA's guide to plan, purchase, prepare, and serve nourishing meals for the Child Nutrition Programs. For a hard copy, call the Nutrition Services Division toll free at 800-952-5609.
  • Meal Counting and Claiming Manual External link opens in new window or tab.
    This manual contains information on the selection and implementation of a meal counting and claiming system for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.
  • Provision 2 Guidance Manual External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
    USDA's guidance for schools participating in the Provision 2 alternative for collecting and certifying free and reduced-price eligibility under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP).

Resources and Reports

California Fresh Start Program (CFSP) Evaluation Report
Executive Summary of findings from the comprehensive evaluation of the pilot implementation of the CFSP mandated by SB 281, and CFSP Evaluation Report.

No Child Left Behind
California's Home page for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

WestEd Breakfast Study External link opens in new window or tab.
The Legislature required the CDE to contract for a study to evaluate the cost and feasibility of mandating that all severe need schools in California offer the School Breakfast Program (SBP). The Feasibility of Mandating School Breakfast in California's Severe Need Schools: Costs, Challenges, and Recommendations is a final report of that study, following interviews with 44 school districts (60 schools) that did not offer the SBP and interviews with seven school districts (7 schools) that recently adopted the SBP. Results also used CDE data obtained from 6,523 severe need schools in California about their SBP status.

USDA Resources
  • Child Nutrition Programs External link opens in new window or tab.
    The USDA Web page for information about the administration of school nutrition programs.
  • Healthy Meals Resource System External link opens in new window or tab.
    The USDA online information center that provides recipes, resources, and information on food safety and the preparation of nutritious meals.
  • School Breakfast Program Expansion External link opens in new window or tab.
    The USDA online resource to help promote and expand School Breakfast Programs as a way of supporting positive health and educational outcomes for children.
  • Team Nutrition External link opens in new window or tab.
    The USDA Web page for nutrition education and training materials.

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Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 31, 2015

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