Section IV. Meal Service
A. Meal Service
1. A la Carte/Contract Meals
The full cost of “extra” services provided by the food service department must be recovered. This includes everything served other than reimbursable breakfasts, lunches or afterschool snacks.
Report income from a la carte sales, second meals, and extra milk as a la carte income. Report income from banquets, snacks for homeroom parties, weekend field trips, meals for athletic teams, refreshments for teachers or school boards, snacks for kindergarten, and meals contracted by a DHS summer program sponsor, elderly program or Headstart as contract meal income.
2. Outside Vendor Restrictions
A school district cannot allow any outside business/vendor to operate an a la carte food service unless the business agrees to offer free, reduced price and paid reimbursable lunches to all eligible children. See Director’s Memo IA-99-002.
3. Cafeteria Supervision
School food service funds may not be used to pay salaries for monitoring during meal service periods. However, food service personnel may have monitoring duties assigned to them as a part of their other food service responsibilities.
4. Student Meal Service
a) Disciplinary Denial of Meals
The denial of meals as a disciplinary action against any child is prohibited. Disciplinary action which indirectly results in the loss of meals (e.g., a student is suspended from school) is allowable. However, the withholding of meals (e.g., requiring detention hall during the lunch or breakfast serving period) is prohibited. Food cannot be taken away from a student; neither can the student be forced to throw food away as a disciplinary action.
b) Meal Tickets – Lost, Stolen, or Misused
Students who receive free or reduced price meals and lose the meal ticket/token or identification card must be provided with meals and must not be charged for replacement of the lost ticket/token or identification card unless the school district has developed a policy that meets the following criteria:
• Parent Notification - notify parents in writing of the lost or stolen ticket/token policy when applications are sent to households or upon approval of the free or reduced price meal applications,
• Replacement Tickets/Tokens -a minimum of three ticket/token replacements, or special meal arrangements resulting from three lost or stolen tickets/tokens, must be allowed each student within each school year,
• Student List of Lost Tickets - the school must maintain a list of students who have reported missing original tickets/tokens in the current school year and the number of occurrences for each student.
Prior to denying a meal to any student without a ticket, the list should always be reviewed to determine if the student has already had at least three ticket/token replacements or special meal arrangements for lost or stolen tickets/tokens within that school year.
• Written Notice - give at least one advance written notice to the student and parent prior to refusing to serve a student meals or to replacing tickets.
After the minimum number of tickets has been replaced or special meal arrangements have been made, these students should be reissued a ticket or token when all other students are reissued tickets. Example: Bill lost his fourth weekly ticket on Tuesday. He must pay full price or bring lunch from home for meals for the remainder of the week. He will be issued a ticket again on the following Monday.
Meals must always be provided to pre-primary students, young primary students, or any student with a disability that may be unable to take full responsibility for a ticket.
c) Charging Meals for Students
BAD DEBTS (unpaid meal charges) are NOT ALLOWED in the Child Nutrition Program according to cost principles determined in accordance with federal regulations, 7 CFR, Part 3015 and OMB Circular A-87 (see D. 3. Financial Management – Non-allowable Costs in this booklet).
School districts are not required to serve students who pay reduced price or full price for meals, but do not bring money to pay for meals. However, school districts should adopt written policies to address this problem (e.g., students may be allowed to charge a limited number of meals or the parent may be called so other provisions can be made for the meal). This policy should be communicated to both parents and students.
Caution: Any school district policy should have special provisions for pre-primary and young primary students, or for any disabled students who may be unable to take responsibility.
The following example of a “meal charge” policy could be adopted with modifications to fit the needs of the district:
• Example – Policy for Meal Charges
It is the policy of __________school district to allow students to charge meals only on occasion when money is unavailable and the student would have to miss meal service. This is a courtesy extended to the student and should not occur on a regular basis.
More than $_______(specify amount) in charges will be considered excessive and will not be permitted. Any student denied meal service due to excessive charges will be encouraged to apply for free or reduced-price meals.
At the end of the school year the amount of uncollected meal charges must be paid to the Child Nutrition account from some other source. (Example: district operating account.)
d) Second Meals Served to Students
The price for both first and second lunches served to students may be established by the local school district. Only one lunch and breakfast per student per day may be claimed for reimbursement. Income from second meals should be reported as a la carte income.
e) Field Trips, Make-Up Days, Extra-Curricular Activities
Meals reimbursed under the school breakfast, lunch or afterschool snack programs are to be served and consumed as part of the school program on school or school-related premises. Meals (breakfast, lunch and/or afterschool snack) taken on school-supervised field trips may be reimbursable if meal requirements are met.
Meals served on weekends when the activity is an integral part of the curriculum (such as make-up days) are reimbursable. However, meals provided for school affiliated extra-curricular events, such as athletic or band trips are not reimbursable.
B. Competitive Foods
1. Foods Of Minimal Nutritional Value
Carbonated beverages, hard candies, chewing gum, or water ices cannot be sold or served (USDA 2001-SP-06) in the food service area during the lunch or breakfast periods.
Although the service of carbonated beverages, under certain conditions, is not prohibited, USDA has determined that school food service funds cannot be used to purchase such beverages or other foods of minimal nutritional value to be served in the food service area during meal periods. (Source for Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value: USDA Program Aid: FNS 303 A Menu Planner for Healthy School Meals, Appendix 7.)
2. Purchase of Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value
The National School Lunch Program, as well as other child nutrition programs, is authorized to provide federal support for the service of nutritious foods for children. Carbonated beverages have been identified as being so minimally nutritious that they cannot be sold in competition with school lunches.
Therefore, the purchase of carbonated beverages with funds from federally supported school food service accounts served in the food service area would violate the underlying legislative intent of the school lunch program.
This policy is not intended to prohibit the purchase of minor quantities of foods of minimal nutritional value to be used in the preparation of menu items offered with meals or as a la carte items, such as marshmallows for marshmallow rice cereal treats or jelly beans for an Easter cake.
3. Exemptions for Products
The Nutrition and Technical Service Division (NTSD) of the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has granted exemptions of some products to the foods of minimal nutritional value. See USDA Regulation 7 CFR 210.11, 220.12, or "Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value" in the USDA Program Aid: FNS 303 A Menu Planner for Healthy School Meals, Appendix 7. Contact your area specialist for the most current list. This means these exempt products can be sold during the meal period in a school food service area. This does not mean that these products are approved or endorsed by FNS. Nor does this exemption indicate that these products have significant nutritional value. For a school to be assured they are purchasing a product that has been exempted, it is recommended that a copy of the company’s exemption letter be obtained before any product is purchased. The school districts should also ensure that the product name and ingredients statement of the product they are purchasing exactly matches the exempted product.
4. Exclusive Beverage or Pouring Contracts
If the school district's Child Nutrition programs are included in an exclusive beverage or pouring contract, all federal procurement requirements must be met. Federal procurement procedures are found in 7 CFR 210.21, 7 CFR Part 3016/3019.
If the exclusive beverage contract does not include the federal Child Nutrition programs, the contract does not have to comply with the USDA procurement regulations cited above, but it must still comply with the appropriate state procurement requirements.
5. Rebates, Commissions, Considerations, Donations or Other Payments to the District from Exclusive Beverage/Pouring Rights and Snack Contracts
If the Child Nutrition program is included in exclusive beverage contracts, any rebates, commission, considerations, donations (including scholarship funds, score boards, or any items given to the district, etc.), or any other payments back to the district and/or school that is based on the participation of the Child Nutrition programs in this contract must be given to the Child Nutrition program for Child Nutrition program use only on a prorata basis. See Director’s Memo IA – 99 – 010 for additional information. Copies of the contract and procurement documentation must be available for review by legislative audit each year.
6. Placement and/or Operation of Beverage/Vending Machines
Any vending machine that contains foods of minimal nutritional value carbonated beverages, chewing gum, water ices, and certain candies that are sugar and water based) must be closed during meal service period if the machines are located in the food service area (cafeteria). Failure to do so will jeopardize child nutrition funds. Citation: Part 7 Federal Code of Regulations, Part 210.11 (b).
C. Food Safety
1. Taking Food from the Cafeteria
No foods may be purchased from the cafeteria to be consumed off campus. This does not prohibit the preparation and service of meals for field trips, contract meals and other school sponsored activities.
It is the responsibility of each school district to develop a policy to determine where food may be consumed on campus. USDA regulations do not address where students should consume food, but in the Agreement Between SFA and ADE, the SFA agrees to maintain necessary facilities for serving school meals.
Leftover food should be stored for later use, served to the students, or thrown away. Leftover food cannot be taken home by food service staff or other school staff.
2. Health Department Inspections
Health inspections are required by USDA regulations as well as state statute. Violations of health and safety standards shall be corrected immediately. During visits from the state agency child nutrition staff will check to determine that health inspections have taken place and violations have been corrected.
D. Meal Prices
1. Students – Maximum Price for Reduced
The maximum for reduced price lunches is $.40. The maximum for reduced price breakfasts is $.30. The maximum for reduced price afterschool snacks is $.15. A lower price may be charged if the school district desires to do so.
2. Adults – Formula for Determining Adult Prices
The school’s nutrition program receives varying amounts of reimbursement for each student meal served. It receives no funds for the preparation of adult meals, SO THE PRICE FOR THE ADULT’S MEAL IS BASED ON THE ACTUAL COST OF THE MEAL.
USDA instructions allow the MINIMUM ADULT PAYMENT for meals to be determined by adding the highest price charged to students, plus the current value of federal reimbursement, plus commodities (entitlement & bonus). Use the following formula to determine the minimum price for adult meals.
FORMULA: MINIMUM ADULT PAYMENT
|Student lunch reimbursement: || $ .21 or $ .23 |
|Per meal value of entitlement commodities: || + .1575 |
|Per meal value of bonus commodities: || + .03 (state average) |
|Highest price charged for student lunch: || + ________ |
|Minimum price for adult lunch: || ________ (total) |
The same rule applies for breakfast, except there is no commodity entitlement for breakfast.
|Student breakfast reimbursement || $ .22 |
|Highest price charged for student breakfast: || + ________ |
|Minimum price for adult breakfast: || ________ (total) |
3. Providing Meals to Adults
Meals served to adults who “are directly involved in the operation and administration of the school nutrition programs” may be furnished at no charge, at the discretion of the school district. Documentation should be maintained to assure the contribution made by the adult is equal to the value of the meals.
The cost of meals provided at no charge to adults who “are not directly involved in the operation and administration of the school nutrition programs” must be reimbursed to the Child Nutrition Fund from some other source.
E. Special Dietary Needs
1. School District Policies & Procedures
Arkansas Act 1146 of 1995 required that local school districts develop policies and procedures for special health care needs of students. The Arkansas Resource Guide for Developing School Policies on Children with Special Health Care Needs, developed by Special Education task force, contains guidance, resources, and sample forms from other states that may be helpful to child nutrition directors.
2. Staff Training for Special Needs Care
Child Nutrition staff should comply with local school district policies and USDA regulations in the service of meals to children with special health care needs. It is the responsibility of each district to train child nutrition personnel, who are asked to participate as a member of the health care team or as a direct care provider (day-to-day meal preparation). Training will reduce the risk and liability relative to the care and education of medically fragile, chronically ill and/or technologically dependent students.
The Child Nutrition Unit of ADE will continue to assist school districts in networking with the Arkansas Department of Health and Nutrition Services Unit and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital registered dietitians to provide services and assistance to students and their families. Please call Schaun Brown, MS, RD, LD, Area Specialist at (870) 534-6129, or Betsy Gore, RD, LD, Area Specialist, at (501) 324-9502, should you have questions regarding special dietary needs of students or the training of personnel.
3. Individualized Health Care Plans
a) State Requirement
Arkansas Code 6-18-1005 (a) (6) requires school districts to provide individualized health care plans for students with special health care needs. Students with special health care needs, including chronically ill, medically fragile and technology dependent, and students with other health impairments shall have an individualized health care plan.
b) Process for Individualized Health Care Planning
A student’s health care plan is developed to provide appropriate care and services to meet the student’s health care needs in the educational setting. A school health care plan is a well-defined plan to provide health care services to a student certified as disabled in educational setting. It is not the same as an Individualized Educational Plan. An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) only addresses the education needs of a student not the health care services that a student may need to be in school. There are many students with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other types of health care problems that do not need an IEP, but do need health care services to be in school.
The IEP is completed as part of a team planning process. The health care team includes the:
• school nurse (normally the Health Care Team LEADER)
• other health care professionals, school representative (i.e. teacher or principal)
• other members of the school staff (paraprofessional, bus driver, child nutrition manager, or director) who provide care to the student during the school day.
Child Nutrition personnel (child nutrition district director and/or the child nutrition manager at the school level) should participate in the health care planning process as part of the care giving team and/or request copies of the health care plan instructions related to the student’s nutritional care if the services are to be provided in conjunction with the district child nutrition programs. The child nutrition staff shall be trained by registered nurse (RN) (Health Care Team Leader) on the school staff or by a licensed registered dietitian should the school meals require modifications as prescribed by a licensed physician.
c) Health Care Plan Components
Individualized health care plans may include but are not limited to the following components:
• Brief medical history
• Results of assessment of medical problems
• Student and family strengths
• Academic/Achievement profile
• Physician’s order for diet, procedures, etc.
• Standards for implementation of care actions and procedures
o Care Plan Goals
o Who will administer the care action/procedure
o Identification of equipment to be used
o Who will maintain equipment
o Who will supervise the implementation of the care action/procedure
o Who will authorize and oversee the implementation of the care action/procedure
• Prescription for medication and procedures for administration
• Diet prescription and interpretation by licensed registered dietitian (LD, RD)
• Transportation schedule and procedures
• Classroom or school modifications (including adaptive physical education)
• Equipment and supplies provided by parent
• Equipment and supplies provided by school
• Specialized training/education for staff
• Requirement for adjustments of the classroom schedule due to a health condition
• Requirements for major safety conditions (such as special precautions in lifting, special transportation, emergency plan, special safety equipment – helmet, special techniques for positioning or feeding, etc.)
4. Students with Certified Disability
When a licensed physician certifies that a child has a disability and prescribes substitutions, schools are required to make substitutions in foods listed in the meal pattern. The physician’s statement shall include:
• the student’s disability and an explanation of why the disability restricts the participant’s diet;
• the major life activity affected by the disability; and
• the food or foods to be omitted from the student’s diet, and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.
5. NON-DISABLING CONDITIONS OF STUDENTS
a) Student with Medical Problems that Are Not Certified As Disabling Conditions
Schools may make substitutions for a child who does not have a disability but is unable to consume a food item because of medical needs; however, SCHOOLS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO DO SO. If a school has this practice, it is important to have written policies that are well communicated to avoid misunderstandings.
Arkansas law requires that only licensed physicians prescribe diet modifications for school meals for a student with or without a disability or chronic medical condition.
The physician’s statement shall include:
• identification of the medical or other special dietary need which restricts the participant’s diet
• the food or choice of food that may be substituted
b) Policies and Procedures For Accommodating Dietary Requests for Students Without A Disability
Each district child nutrition program is advised to have a written policy and provide consistent application of the policies and procedures in the provision of special dietary services to students without a disability.
Although the provision of such services is at the discretion of the school district, all students must be treated the same in all schools within a district to prevent unintentional discrimination of students requesting any special dietary service. For example: If the district policy is to recognize all physician ordered dietary changes even though student’s health condition is not certified as disabling, (i.e. milk allergies,) the policy and procedures established by the district for milk substitution must be followed by all district schools.