Hiring Flexibility Under Professional Standards: Call for Comments


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has proposed a rule adding four flexibilities to the hiring standards for new school nutrition program directors in small local educational agencies (LEAs) and new school nutrition program state directors under the professional standards regulations for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

First, to address the hiring challenge faced by small LEAs, those with 2,499 or fewer students, this rule would require relevant foodservice experience rather than school nutrition program experience for new directors. Second, it would provide state agencies with discretion to consider volunteer or unpaid work as relevant foodservice experience for new school nutrition program directors in small LEAs. Third, to further assist LEAs with less than 500 students, this proposed rule would expand the existing regulatory flexibility which gives state agencies discretion to accept less than the required years of foodservice experience when an applicant for a new director position has the minimum required education. Fourth, this rule would also add flexibility to the hiring standards for state directors of school nutrition programs by considering applicants with either a bachelor's or a master's degree in specific, relevant fields. These proposed changes are expected to expand the pool of candidates qualified to serve as leaders in school nutrition programs while continuing to ensure that school nutrition professionals are able to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.

USDA is providing a public comment period before they develop the Final Rule. Submit your comments via the Federal Register by May 7, 2018. To learn more about this, read the USDA press release.

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