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Change in Meal Application Approval Process


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy

To: National School Lunch Program Sponsors, School Breakfast Program Sponsors

Number: USDA-SNP-07-2010

Attention: Food Service Director, Business Official

Date: September 2010

Subject: Change in Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application Approval Process

Reference: Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 245; U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Eligibility Manual for School Meals; Policy Memorandum: SP-10 2007: Update on Electronic Transactions in the Child Nutrition Programs; MB USDA-SNP-22-2009 (October 2009)
Supersedes: Management Bulletin USDA-SNP-18-2009: Paper and Electronic Online Transmission of Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications (July 2009)

This Management Bulletin (MB) introduces a change to the pre-approval process for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) electronic and household meal applications and provides resources for local educational agencies (LEAs) to access state and federal regulatory guidance and information.

Change to Preapproval Application Process

In the past, school food authorities participating in federal meal or milk programs were required to submit to the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) for preapproval any changes to meal application prototypes. However, this is no longer a USDA requirement; therefore, beginning immediately, the NSD is streamlining this process for LEAs by transferring the responsibility for complying with meal application requirements from the NSD to LEAs.

This change means that the NSD will no longer collect and review either paper or electronic household meal applications for preapproval as part of the annual NSLP and SBP application approval process. Instead, LEAs will be responsible for ensuring that all state and federal regulations are met. The LEAs’ process will continue to be reviewed as part of the Administrative Review (AR) from the NSD.

LEAs may continue to utilize the NSD’s prototypes and can locate them on the California Department of Education School Nutrition Programs Eligibility Materials Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/eligmaterials.asp.

State and Federal Regulations

The USDA guidance and requirements for meal applications and Letter to Households, per Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 245, can be found in the USDA Eligibility Manual for School Meals at http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/guidance-and-resources.

Note: The NSD and the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service do not evaluate, recommend, approve, or endorse any software used for electronic and scanned meal applications, certification, or verification purposes. Further, there are no federal specifications for software vendors. LEAs are responsible for assuring that these processes meet all regulatory requirements and policies. Therefore, if software is used to perform all or part of these processes, the LEA must assure the software used is performing correctly and meets all state and federal requirements.

Further guidance on electronic applications is provided in the USDA Policy Memo SP-10-2007: Update on Electronic Transactions in the Child Nutrition Programs. This policy memo is available on the USDA School Meals Policy Web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/policy/all.

California Education Code (EC) Section 49557 addresses the state’s requirements for meal applications, which details the LEAs application obligations and statement requirements. Please note that, per EC Section 49557(b), LEAs remain responsible for submitting a plan for ensuring that children receiving free and reduced-price meals are not treated differently than other children.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the MB, please contact your assigned SNP specialist. The SNP specialist list is available in the CNIPS Download Forms section, Form ID Caseload. You can also contact an SNP Office Technician by phone at 916-322-1450, 322-3005, or 800-952-5609, Option 2 to be directed to your SNP specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, January 27, 2020
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