Additional lunch reimbursements available

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) requires that an additional six-cents-per-lunch reimbursement be provided to School Food Authorities (SFAs) certified by the Maine Department of Education, in compliance with new meal pattern requirements. On October 1, 2012, this additional reimbursement becomes available to certified school food authorities. Certification procedures will require SFAs to submit documentation demonstrating compliance with the updated meal patterns consistent with the final meal pattern regulation.

The certification process for the six cents performance-based reimbursement works as follows:

  • SFA submits certification documentation to the Department
  • Maine DOE makes a certification determination within 60 days
  • The Department conducts validation reviews of 25 percent of certified SFAs in SY 2012-2013

The Maine DOE must only certify a SFA once. Once an SFA has been granted certification, ongoing compliance with meal pattern requirements will be monitored through administrative reviews.

The earliest the Department may certify SFAs for the six-cents-per-lunch reimbursement is July 1, 2012, the beginning of the 2013 school year. This date reflects the compliance date for the updated meal pattern requirements. SFAs are reminded that while certification may occur prior to October 1, 2012, certified SFAs will earn the additional six cents for only those meals served starting October 1, 2012, or later.

The Department will require SFAs to submit documentation demonstrating compliance with the updated meal pattern requirements for review and approval.

There are three options for certification. These options were designed to use, to the maximum extent practicable, existing processes and information.

  • Option 1 SFAs to submit:
    • One week of menus of each menu offered, by age/grade group, within the SFA for both lunch and, if offered, breakfast.  This means SFAs must submit a breakfast and lunch menu for grades K-5, a breakfast and lunch menu for grades 6-8, and a breakfast and lunch menu for grades 9-12;
    • Detailed production records showing food components and quantities for reimbursable meals for these menus;
    • A nutrient analysis of calories and saturated fats; and
    • Documentation submitted for certification is representative of the ongoing meal service within the SFA, and that the minimum required food quantities for all meal components are available to students in every serving line.

This option acknowledges that a large number of SFAs already use nutrient analysis software to monitor the nutrient levels in their meals. 

  • Option 2 SFAs to submit:
    • One week of menus of each menu offered, by age/grade group, within the SFA for both lunch and, if offered, breakfast. This means SFAs must submit a breakfast and lunch menu for grades K-5, a breakfast and lunch menu for grades 6-8, and a breakfast and lunch menu for grades 9-12;
    • Detailed production records showing food components and quantities for reimbursable meals for these menus;
    • A simplified nutrient assessment of calories and saturated fats; and
    • Documentation submitted for certification is representative of the ongoing meal service within the SFA, and that the minimum required food quantities for all meal components are available to students in every serving line.

This option acknowledges that not all SFAs use nutrient analysis software. A simplified nutrient assessment is intended to be a proxy for the nutrient analysis.

  • Option 3 allows the Department to certify an SFA during a review. The DOE will offer this option to SFAs being reviewed /visited. The SFA would need to have one week of menus, production records for these menus and all information needed for the Department to conduct a nutrient analysis. Letters informing superintendents of the 2013 review schedule will be mailed out in September 2012 with dates and other information.

SFAs can choose either Option 1 or 2 for certification. This information can be found on our web page with the spreadsheet and more details.

If the SFA serves multiple, distinct menus within one age/grade group, the SFA must submit all menus served. For example, if the SFA has two high schools that offer lunch menus with different entrees in their reimbursable meals, both lunch menus (and accompanying menu worksheets) must be submitted. If the SFA has two high schools that offer lunch menus with the same entrees but one has a salad bar and the other serves similar vegetables on the line each day, the SFA would only need to submit one of these menus and the accompanying menu worksheet. In such situations, the SFA must ensure that any menu variations not submitted for certification are consistent with the meal pattern and nutrient requirements.

The HHFKA explicitly states that SFAs found out of compliance will not receive the additional reimbursement.

For the purposes of this rule, a week means a normal school week, not including holidays.

All documentation must reflect current SFA practices, i.e., meal service in the calendar month the certification materials are submitted, or in the month preceding the calendar month of submission. For example, in December an SFA can submit a request for certification with documentation of December or November meal service. Documentation for October meal service would not be considered current in this case.

SFAs may submit planned menus prior to October 1, 2012; however, menus submitted prior to October 1 must reflect meals planned for October or November 2012.

The Department is requesting SFAs notify the Child Nutrition Services office staff of which option they will elect or of their decision not to select either option. This can be done by email.

Resources and more information

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