Tuesday Morning - July 18, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Sonny Perdue Addresses SNA Members and Holds Listening Session at ANC 2017
Flexibility for Co-Mingled Preschool Meals: Questions and Answers
2017 Edition of the Eligibility Manual for School Meals
Local Agency Procurement Reviews for School Food Authorities
Compliance with and Enforcement of the Buy American Provision in the NSLP
States’ USDA Foods Entitlement Will No Longer Be Charged DoD Surcharge 

State Snapshots

California Direct Certification Bill Passes Legislature
Oregon Legislature Passes Unpaid Meals Bill
Oregon Votes for Farm to School Grant Program

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC Meals Matter Webinars

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Sonny Perdue Addresses SNA Members and Holds Listening Session at ANC 2017

Sonny Perdue Addresses SNA Members and Holds Listening Session at ANC 2017

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, addressed a crowd of over 7,000 school nutrition professionals during the Closing General Session on July 12, 2017 at SNA’s Annual National Conference. The Secretary took the opportunity to recognize the many contributions of school nutrition professionals to students’ academic achievement. He also joined in a listening session with SNA leaders—school nutrition professionals elected to represent the broad range of meal programs across the country. The event allowed Secretary Perdue to hear first-hand about successes and challenges encountered by those working on the frontlines to improve menus for students while meeting updated nutrition standards for meals and snacks. Perdue has invited Lynn Harvey, SNA’s President-Elect, and her incoming board to come and meet with his team at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to give direct, specific advice on how to make the best rules going forward regarding school nutrition and school meals. View SNA’s full press release and to watch the video of Secretary Perdue at ANC.

Flexibility for Co-Mingled Preschool Meals: Questions and Answers

USDA released a memo that offered guidance on serving meals to preschoolers when they are in the same service area at the same time as grade K-5 students. USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recognizes the counting and claiming challenges that school nutrition professionals face when preschoolers and K-5 students are co-mingled for meals. Due to these operational challenges and the stakeholder feedback that was collected, a single menu can be served to preschoolers and K-5 students when they are in the same service area at the same time. Schools where this applies may choose to follow the grade-appropriate meal patterns for each grade group, which USDA encourages, or serve the K-5 meal pattern to both grade groups. Additional guidance on the National School Lunch Program’s and School Breakfast Program’s infant and preschool meal pattern requirements will be issued soon, and in the meantime, a Question and Answer section was also included in this memo.

2017 Edition of the Eligibility Manual for School Meals

The School Year 2017-18 version of the Eligibility Manual for School Meals was released in a memo. The manual contains detailed information on federal requirements, policies, and procedures regarding school meals, and can be used to help state agencies and local educational agencies accurately determine, certify, and verify children’s eligibility for free or reduced price school meals and free milk. The manual has six sections: Getting Started, The Basis of Eligibility, Establishing Eligibility, The School Meal Application, Confidentiality and Disclosure, and Verification. USDA also released a version of the manual with the changes from the previous edition highlighted. These changes include added regulatory and FNS policy memoranda citations, as well as links to the School Programs Policy Page. Questions and Answers were also added to the end of each section. State agencies should distribute this information to program operators immediately.

Local Agency Procurement Reviews for School Food Authorities

A USDA FNS memo was released regarding procurement reviews for local school food authorities (SFAs). The memo amends guidance provided in SP 45-2016 Draft Tool for Local Agency Procurement Reviews for School Food Authorities in SY2016-2017 and clarifies expectations for state agency oversight of SFA procurement procedures. Previously, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) established a three-year cycle for procurement reviews that corresponded to the three-year review of SFAs that contract with a food service management company, and were encouraged to be conducted during the same three-year review cycle as the Administrative Review (AR). Based on the feedback that FNS received, they recognize that the required procurement review procedures can be challenging due to lack of resources, reviewer expertise and budget constraints. So now, FNS is allowing state agencies to either continue completing procurement reviews on the same three-year cycle as ARs or to conduct the reviews on an alternate cycle, though it must still be no longer than three years. State agencies must notify their appropriate FNS Regional Office of their procurement review cycles by October 1, 2017.

Compliance with and Enforcement of the Buy American Provision in the NSLP

After receiving many inquiries about the Buy American provision in 7 CFR 210.21(d), USDA FNS issued a new memo titled Compliance with and Enforcement of the Buy American Provision in the National School Lunch Program for clarification purposes. The new guidance provides updates, including suggested contract language to be utilized in solicitations, and serves to reinforce the importance of the Buy American provision to our economy and its positive effects on small and local businesses. The memo replaces SP 24-2016, Compliance with and Enforcement of the Buy American Provision in the National School Lunch Program.

States’ USDA Foods Entitlement Will No Longer Be Charged DoD Surcharge

There are upcoming enhancements to the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Order/Receipt System (FFAVORS) that will be taking place around the beginning of School Year 2017-18. Due to these changes, the Department of Defense (DoD) surcharge on orders will no longer be deducted from NSLP entitlement funds in FFAVORS. The change will make it easier for schools to compare the price of produce available through FFAVORS with what can be purchased from other sources. Also, NSLP customers will be able to apply more of their entitlement balance directly to food purchases. More information about the USDA DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is available on the USDA’s website.

State Snapshots

California Direct Certification Bill Passes Legislature

A bill intended to maximize enrollment in school meal programs using direct certification has passed the California House and Senate and is enrolled to the Governor for signature. AB 1502 also aims to improve program integrity while ensuring student privacy safeguards remain in place.

Oregon Legislature Passes Unpaid Meals Bill

Oregon bill 3454 describes specific actions schools are required to take or are prohibited from taking regarding students who are unable to pay for meals. Among other provisions, schools must provide a USDA reimbursable meal to any student who requests one, regardless of whether the student carries an unpaid meal balance.

Oregon Votes for Farm to School Grant Program

The Oregon legislature also passed a bill directing the Department of Education to administer a Farm to School Grant Program. School districts may apply for a noncompetitive grant to assist with paying for costs incurred to purchase food produced or processed in the state, or for a competitive grant to fund food-based, agriculture-based and garden-based educational activities in the school district. The bill appropriates $4,500,000 for the Farm to School Grant Program effective July 1, 2017.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Learn what’s on the agenda for SNA’s upcoming popular professional development webinars. Successful completion of each of the following webinars and quiz is worth 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs. Registration opens this fall.

Host a Legislator Site Visit
Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 2:00 pm ET

Webinar (title coming soon!) sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 2:00 pm ET

“Best of ANC#17” 1 of 3: Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 2:00 pm ET

FRAC Meals Matter Webinars

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) provides its Meals Matter webinar series to assist in the operation and expansion of school meal programs.

Innovative Afterschool Partnerships
Thursday July 20, 2017, 1:00 pm ET
School is around the corner and it is an excellent time to reach out to potential partners who can assist you in building a stronger Afterschool Meal Program. Libraries are moving from serving summer meals to also participating in the Afterschool Meal Program. Mayors are running city-wide efforts to increase participation in Afterschool Meals and there are opportunities to partner with groups that are offering innovative afterschool programming. Join this call to learn more about the innovative partnerships that are happening across the country.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

Thank you to all of our ANC 2017 Atlanta attendees! We had a great time learning about hot topics and making cool connections, and hope you did too! Check in next week to see what the Cafeteria Chat Corner will be talking about next!

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