Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Appeal Process for Child Nutrition Programs


An agency operating under one or more Child Nutrition Programs (CNP), may appeal certain actions taken by the California Department of Education (CDE) against the agency. This web page outlines the procedure for agencies that wish to appeal actions taken by the CDE. When taking action against an agency, the CDE will provide the agency with a written notice of action that explains the agency's right to appeal and refers the agency to the procedures on this web page. The most common appealable action for the CNPs is the assessment of an overpayment resulting from administrative review (AR) or audit findings; however, regulations for each CNP identify certain actions that agencies have the right to appeal. For further information, please review the appealable actions by program using the links below.

School Nutrition Programs | Child and Adult Care Food Program | Summer Food Service Program

If your agency has received a written notice of action from the CDE that states that your agency may appeal the action(s) being taken, follow these procedures to request an appeal:

Program Integrity Unit
Nutrition Services Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 4503
Sacramento, CA 95814

Written Request for an Appeal

  • School Nutrition Programs (SNP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): The agency's written request for an appeal must be postmarked no later than 15 calendar days after receipt of the notice of action. The CDE will acknowledge the receipt of the appeal request within 10 calendar days.

  • Summer Food Service Program (SFSP): The agency's written request for an appeal must be postmarked no later than 10 days after receipt of the notice of action. The CDE will acknowledge receipt of the appeal request within 5 calendar days.

  • If appealing AR findings, the agency may appeal the accuracy of the findings that generate the fiscal action, but cannot appeal the dollar amount contained in the notice of action for reasons of hardship to the agency.

  • There are three types of hearings: written review, written review with oral argument or oral hearing. An agency may select one of the three types. If the agency does not select a hearing type, a written review will be provided. The three types of hearings are described as follows:

    • Written Review: If the agency requests a written review, the hearing officer will analyze the written documentation provided by the agency and by the CDE to render a decision.

    • Written Review with Oral Argument: If an agency requests a written review with oral argument, the hearing officer will analyze and render a decision based upon the written statements and documentation provided by the agency and the CDE. The agency is permitted to come to Sacramento to appear before the hearing officer to explain its case. During the oral argument portion of the proceeding, the agency and the CDE clarify relevant issues presented in their written statements and documents. Because of the informality of this process, the oral arguments are not considered testimony. The arguments are recorded and the hearing officer may ask questions of either party.

    • Oral Hearing: If an agency requests an oral hearing, the hearing officer will render a decision based upon information submitted into evidence and witness testimony. When this option is specified on the appeal request, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) will schedule a hearing. The agency will be formally notified by the OAH of the oral hearing, date, time, and place at least 10 days prior to the scheduled appointment. All oral hearings are held in Sacramento.

Submitting Written Documentation

  • SNP and CACFP: Written documentation for all types of hearings must be submitted within 30 calendar days from the date the agency received the notice of action.

  • SFSP: Written documentation for all types of hearings must be submitted within 14 calendar days from the date the agency received the notice of action.

  • The written documentation must be sent to the OAH and the Nutrition Services Division as follows:
Office of Administrative Hearings Nutrition Services Division

The OAH requires all documents to be submitted electronically using their Secure e-File system.

OAH Secure e-File External link opens in new window or tab.

By mail:

Program Integrity Unit
Nutrition Services Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 4503
Sacramento, CA 95814

Notice of Hearing Date

If a hearing has been requested, the OAH provides the agency and the CDE with advance written notice (sent by certified mail, return receipt requested) of the time, date, and place of the hearing.
  • SNP and CACFP: The OAH provides the agency and the CDE with at least 10 calendar days advance written notice.

  • SFSP: The OAH provides the agency and the CDE with at least five calendar days advance written notice.

  • The agency may retain legal counsel or may be represented by another person. Failure of the agency’s representative to appear at a scheduled hearing shall constitute the agency’s waiver of the right to a personal appearance before the OAH, unless the OAH agrees to reschedule the hearing or issue a continuance.
  • Any information on which the CDE’s proposed action is based is available to the agency for inspection from the date of receipt of the request for review.
  • If a written review with oral argument or an oral hearing is chosen, a representative of the CDE is allowed to attend the hearing to respond to the agency's testimony and to answer questions posed by the OAH.
  • The hearing officer is an independent and impartial officer, other than and not accountable to, any person authorized to make decisions that are subject to appeal under the provisions of the applicable CNPs (SNP, CACFP, or SFSP).
  • The hearing officer has the authority to select another hearing type if she/he determines the issues cannot be fully discussed or clarified under the hearing type originally selected.

Notification of OAH Determination

The OAH makes a determination based on information provided by the CDE, the agency, and program regulations. The determination by the OAH is the final administrative determination available to the agency.

  • SNP and CACFP: The agency will be notified of the determination within 60 calendar days from the date the CDE received the request for a hearing.

  • SFSP: The agency will be notified of the determination within five working days from the date of the hearing.

  • The CDE's action remains in effect during the appeal process.
  • For more information regarding the hearing process, please contact the OAH by phone at 916-263-0550.
Questions:   John Ingram-Stone | jingramstone@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-0885
Last Reviewed: Monday, December 31, 2018
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • Crediting Grains Using Ounce Equivalencies (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Guidance on determining the amount of creditable grains present in a food product, or recipe using ounce equivalencies.
  • Long Description for Figure 1: Grains Flowchart (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Long description of Figure 1 Flowchart 1 that is included in the Flowchart for Determining Creditable Grains in the Child and Adult Care Food Program tip sheet.
  • Long Description for Figure 2: Grains Flowchart (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Long description of Figure 2 Flowchart 2 that is included in the Flowchart for Determining Creditable Grains in the Child and Adult Care Food Program tip sheet.
  • Introducing Solids to Infants in the CNPs (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Provides guidance on assessing an infant's developmental readiness for solid foods, engaging communications with parents or guardians about offering solids, and understanding infant eating habits.
  • Serving Smoothies in the CACFP (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Provides smoothie recipes and guidance on crediting fruit, vegetable, milk, and yogurt smoothies served as part of reimbursable meals and snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

  • Determining Whole Grain-rich Products in the CACFP (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Provides guidance for identifying whole grain-rich (WGR) items in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
  • Quarter-mile Site Proximity Reporting Requirements (added 19-Nov-2019)
    This management bulletin provides guidance on the quarter mile site proximity requirements for Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors.
  • Recipe for Pasta Parmesan with Vegetables (added 19-Nov-2019)
    Parmesan and rotini pasta recipe with garden vegetables in a garlic butter sauce developed by the California Culinary Centers for school food service menu planning.
  • Recipe for BBQ Chicken (added 19-Nov-2019)
    Flavorful baked chicken recipe with a sweet barbeque (BBQ) glaze developed by the California Culinary Centers for school food service menu planning.
  • Recipe for Beef Torta Sandwich (added 19-Nov-2019)
    Spicy Mediterranean beef sandwich recipe on a whole grain roll with fresh jalapenos and cheese developed by the California Culinary Centers for school food service menu planning.