Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023
On December 29, 2022, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023: Public Law 117-328 (Appropriations Act). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) then issued Policy Memo SP06-2023, CACFP 05-2023, SFSP 02-2023 to summarize the effect of the Appropriations Act on Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). The USDA Policy Memo is posted on the USDA website at Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023: Effect on Child Nutrition Programs .
The Appropriations Act provides a rural noncongregate meal service option for summer meal programs, creates a permanent Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) program, amends the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program for Summer 2023, prohibits the procurement of chicken from China, and extends paid lunch equity exemptions. The following sections summarize the effects of the Appropriations Act on the Child Nutrition Programs:
Noncongregate Summer Meal Service
Section 502: Increases access to summer meals for children through alternative delivery options (noncongregate meal service) and Summer EBT (see section 13A). Beginning in the Summer of 2023, state agencies can approve, in specific situations, summer meal sites in a rural area with no available congregate meal service option to operate a noncongregate meal service. Program operators must adhere to meal quantity limitations and serve meals that meet state and local health, safety, and sanitation standards.
On February 28, 2023, the USDA provided Policy Memo SFSP 01-2023, SP 05-2023: Implementation Guidance—Summer 2023 Noncongregate Meal Service in Rural Areas. This memo provides guidance that serves as instructions for state agencies and program operators on how to implement rural noncongregate meal service for summer meal programs in Summer 2023. The policy is available on the USDA website on the Implementation Guidance: Summer 2023 Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas web page .
Note: The California Department of Education (CDE) will develop additional guidance for summer meal program operators to provide rural noncongregate meal service through a pilot program for Summer 2023. However, in accordance with the Appropriations Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture must develop interim final regulations by December 29, 2023. As such, guidance provided for Summer 2024 may be different from the Summer 2023 pilot.
Permanent Summer EBT Program
Section 13A: Establishes a permanent Summer EBT program for children beginning the Summer of 2024. The program will provide of nutrition assistance for eligible children during the summer when school is not in session. Eligible children are those directly certified, enrolled in a provision school and were identified students, or determined as free and reduced-price (FRP) eligible during the preceding school year or during the Summer. An application must be made available for children not otherwise identified as FRP eligible. Summer EBT program benefits will be $40 per month and the total program benefits will not exceed $120 per child for the covered summer period. Benefits may only be issued for the summer months except for children who attend school on a continuous calendar. The USDA must issue interim final regulations by December 29, 2023.
Further, section 13A amended P-EBT regulations for Summer 2023 to cap the dollar amount of P-EBT benefits to $120 per eligible child. It also adjusted the eligibility requirements to exclude children who did not attend a National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program participating school in School Year (SY) 2022–23, and allows for state agencies to submit a Summer P-EBT plan without an approved SY 2022–23 school age or child care age P-EBT plan.
Note: The CDE is assisting the California Department of Social Services to support Summer P-EBT and Summer EBT. The CDE will share more information as each program develops.
Section 740: Effective for SYs 2022–2023 and 2023–2024, the school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) may credit any vegetable offered, including potatoes and other starchy vegetables, in place of fruit without including vegetables from other subgroups in the weekly menus. SFAs are not required to make any menu changes.
Section 751: Prohibits the use of Appropriations Act funds to procure raw or processed poultry products imported into the United States from the People’s Republic of China for use in the Child Nutrition Programs.
Cafeteria Fund Guidance
Section 752: For School Year 2023–24, an SFA that has a negative balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of June 30, 2022, is required to establish prices for paid lunches served through the National School Lunch Program. For additional guidance on the paid lunch equity exemption, please visit the CDE Management Bulletin, SNP-02-2021 Paid Lunch Equity Exemption Guidance web page at Paid Lunch Equity Exemption Guidance.
Note: Paid lunch price requirements do not apply to SFAs with all sites on a nonpricing program, such as the California Universal Meals Program.
Farm to School
Section 777: Congress changed the name of the USDA Farm to School Program, authorized in Section 18(g) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 USC 1769(g), to the “Patrick Leahy Farm to School Program”.
For questions regarding SFSP rural site noncongregate meal service, please contact the Summer Programs and Grants Unit at SFSP@cde.ca.gov.
For questions regarding P-EBT or the permanent Summer EBT program, please email PEBT@cde.ca.gov.
For questions about crediting starchy vegetables in the SBP, please email SNPinfo@cde.ca.gov.
For questions regarding the prohibition on purchases of poultry products from China, please contact the Procurement Resources Unit by email at SFSCONTRACTS@cde.ca.gov.
For questions regarding paid lunch pricing, please contact the Resource Management Unit by email at SNPCAFEFUNDQUESTIONS@cde.ca.gov.
For questions regarding farm to school, please email Farm2School@cde.ca.gov.