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Mandatory Site Level Reporting Requirement

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information, Action Required

To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors

Number: NSD-SNP-04-2012

Attention: Food Services Director

Date: February 2012

Subject: Change in CNIPS Claims—Mandatory Site Level Reporting Requirement

Reference: California State Auditor, California’s Charter Schools Report 2010-104 (October 2010); Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Reauthorization Requirements

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides information regarding the mandatory site-level reporting requirement for all School Food Authorities (SFAs) when claiming meal reimbursement in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS). While many SFAs have already transitioned to site-level reporting for claiming meals in the CNIPS, it will become mandatory for all SFAs to do so as of July 1, 2012. Specifically, all SFAs must report the number of meals served at the site level to claim meals via CNIPS, starting with their July 2012 consolidated reimbursement claim (i.e., meals or milk claimed as of July 1, 2012).


In October 2010, the California Bureau of State Audits (BSA) released a report about meals served in charter schools. While conducting research for this report, the BSA experienced difficulty tracking the number of meals served at charter school sites using the CNIPS database. As a result, the BSA issued a requirement to the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD) that all SFAs must use “site level reporting” when claiming meals rather than using district/agency (sponsor) level reporting. Please note that the site level data will be consolidated into one sponsor level reimbursement claim.

The California’s Charter Schools report can be viewed at the California State Auditor BSA Reports Issued in 2010 Web page at

Also, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires State Agencies to implement new federal meal standards in 2012, and requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide an additional six cent reimbursement for each lunch served by eligible SFAs. This new requirement will likely necessitate the CDE to monitor an SFA’s compliance of site level meal patterns (by grade level and portion size) and meal claim data, which can only be accomplished through site level reporting in CNIPS.

The NSD has been preparing SFAs for this transition by providing information about the site level reporting requirement since January 2011. We presented this information at the California School Nutrition Association (CSNA) Conferences in January and November 2011; at the spring and fall CSNA Supervisory Chapter Meetings; in many e-mail messages regarding the Annual Update process (from May through October 2011); and during hundreds of individual technical assistance discussions with NSD staff.

The NSD wants SFAs to transition from sponsor level to site level reporting as easily as possible. The mandatory implementation of this reporting requirement depends upon your type of SFA. During the 2011–12 annual CNIPS update process, and effective July 1, 2011 (School Fiscal Year [SFY] 2011–12), NSD staff switched the following types of SFAs to site level reporting in the CNIPS:

  • Charter schools
  • Private schools
  • Public school districts (with only one site)
  • Residential Child Care Institutions (group homes, and youth authorities)
  • Camps
  • Nonpublic schools
  • Other governmental agencies (with only one site)
  • Public schools that volunteered

Effective July 1, 2012 (SFY 2012–13), NSD staff will switch the following types of SFAs to site level reporting in the CNIPS that have not already transitioned to site level reporting:

  • Public school districts (with more than one site)
  • County offices of education (with more than one site)
  • Other governmental agencies (with more than one site)
Benefits of Site Level Reporting

In addition to the requirement being mandatory, there are numerous benefits resulting from site level reporting that include:

  • Enhancement of the data that the CDE can provide to California and federal legislators who often request site level information on National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program participation, which can impact future reimbursement levels
  • Automatic calculation of Severe Need Breakfast eligibility for each site (item #13 in the CNIPS Site Application), thereby streamlining the annual update process
  • Free and reduced-price (F/RP) meal data available at the site level for local or state grant opportunities (e.g., Breakfast and Summer Start-up and Expansion Grants, HealthierUS School Challenge, Sunshine Awards, Equipment Grants)
  • Site level data available for the new Paid Lunch Equity requirement, which must be reported every November at the site level
  • F/RP meal data at the site level for Provision 2 base years and subsequent extension requests  
  • Automated submission of claim data collected by an SFA, using Point of Sale or Point of Service (POS) software (site-specific meal counts can be directly uploaded into the CNIPS)
  • Certification of the new meal pattern compliance for an additional six cents per reimbursable lunch served at each qualifying site
Preparing for the Transition

NSD staff are responsible for switching SFAs to site level reporting; however, SFAs must prepare soon to upload site level data and be compliant with this July 1, 2012, requirement.

To prepare for the transition to site level reporting, please download the CDE CNIPS POS document entitled, “POS File Layout Specification” for School Nutrition Programs at

After downloading the above document, please read it thoroughly. SFAs will be required to submit the meal count data file in a fixed width ASCII text according to the layout specification listed within the document. This may be done through a POS system, or by manual data entry, when using a program such as Microsoft Excel.

For questions about POS File Layout Specifications, please contact the CNIPS Help Desk by phone at 1-800-952-5609, select Option 6, or by e-mail at for additional information.

How Do I Submit a Reimbursement Claim Using Site Level Data?

In order to certify and submit a site level reimbursement claim, there is an extra step (Item #8 below) to get to the certification page. Here are the instructions for creating a site level claim:

  1. From the Claims menu, select Claim Entry.
    The [Year] SNP Claim Year Summary screen displays.
  2. Select the desired Claim Month.
    The [Year] SNP Claim Month Details screen displays.
  3. Select Add Original Claim.
    The [Year] SNP Sponsor Claim for Reimbursement screen displays.
    Note: The Add Original Claim button only displays on Claim Month Details screens that currently have no claims created.
  4. Select Add for the Site for which you wish to create a claim.
    Note: Continue this step until all site data is reported.
  5. Enter claim information for all enrolled programs.
  6. Select Save.
    A confirmation screen displays.
  7. Select Finish.
  8. Select Back to return to the [Year] SNP Claim Month Details screen.
  9. Select the checkbox in the Certification section.
  10. Select Submit For Payment.
    A pop-up box appears and states that “The claim has been submitted.”
    Note: The Submit For Payment button is enabled only on Claim Month Details screens that currently have pending claims displayed.
  11. Select OK in the pop-up box.
    The [Year] SNP Claim Month Details screen displays.

If you have any questions about submitting your monthly reimbursement claim, please contact Jackie Quenga in the Child Nutrition and Fiscal Services Unit by phone at 916-322-8313, or by e-mail at

Whom Do I Contact When My District/Agency is Ready to Switch to Site Level Reporting?

The NSD strongly recommends that all SFAs begin reporting claims at the site level as soon as possible.

When you are ready to have NSD staff switch your SFA to site level reporting in the CNIPS, please contact your School Nutrition Programs Specialist by phone at 800-952-5609, Option 2.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, February 8, 2019
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