The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. This collection is a revision of a currently approved collection for the School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-II (SNMCS-II; OMB control number 0584-0648, expiration date 09/30/2022), with updated data collection instruments for school year (SY) 2022-2023. The purpose of SNMCS-II is to provide a comprehensive picture of school food service operations and the nutritional quality, cost, and acceptability of meals served in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).
SNMCS-II will provide a comprehensive picture of the NSLP and SBP, and will provide critical information about the nutritional quality, cost, and acceptability of school meals ten years after major reforms began being phased in during the 2012-2013 school year (SY). SNMCS-II will collect a broad range of data from nationally representative samples of public school food authorities (SFAs), public, non-charter schools, students, and parents/guardians during SY 2022-2023. Data collection was originally scheduled to occur in SY 2019-2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These data will provide federal, state, and local policymakers with current information about how federally sponsored school meal programs are operating by updating the information that was collected in SY 2014-2015 for the first School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study (SNMCS-I; OMB control number 0584-0596, expiration date 07/31/2017). In addition, findings from SNMCS-II will be compared to those from SNMCS-I to explore trends in key domains including the nutrient content of school meals, meal costs and revenues, and student participation, plate waste, and dietary intakes.
SNMCS-II will also estimate the costs of producing reimbursable school meals in up to five states and territories outside of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia (DC), and examine the relationship of costs to revenues in those five outlying areas. Section 28(a) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act authorizes this assessment of the cost of producing meals, and the nutrient profile of meals under the NSLP and SBP.
The sample frame of SFAs is divided into four groups, including the outlying areas. Samples in Groups 1, 2, and 3 are limited to the contiguous 48 states and DC. The outlying areas sample includes SFAs in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Two assessments to determine the feasibility of collecting comprehensive cost data in the outlying areas were conducted between 2018 and 2019 under OMB #0584-0606 FNS Generic Clearance for Pre-Testing, Pilot, and Field Test Studies, expiration date 06/30/2022 (School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-II, Outlying Areas Cost Study Feasibility Assessment and School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-II, Outlying Areas Cost Study Feasibility Reassessment).
Based on these assessments, “full” data collection will be conducted with Alaska, Guam, and Hawaii, while “limited” data collection will be conducted with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The burden associated with these assessments is not included in the burden estimates for this collection.
Data collected from the Group 1 sample will provide the precision required for national estimates of SFA-level characteristics and food service operations. Data collected from the Group 2 sample will be used to address study objectives related to the school nutrition environment and food service operations; the food and nutrient content of school meals; student participation in the NSLP and SBP; student/parent satisfaction with the school meal programs; and students' characteristics and dietary intakes.
Data collected from the Group 3 sample will be used to address study objectives related to the school nutrition environment and food service operations; the food and nutrient content of school meals; the costs to produce reimbursable school lunches and breakfasts, including indirect and local administrative costs, and the ratios of revenues to costs; and plate waste in the school meals programs. Data collected from the outlying areas sample will be used to estimate the costs of producing reimbursable school meals and the ratios of revenues to costs in each outlying area.