Proposed Rule: Determining Eligibility for Free and Reduced Price Meals and Free Milk in Schools-Verification Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements
This rule proposes to amend the reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Special Milk Program (SMP) relating to the verification of free and reduced price meal applications.
Schools would report verification activities and results to state agencies, who would consolidate and report it to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and take action as they deem appropriate. Over the years, administering state agencies have conducted comprehensive on-site evaluations of school food authorities participating in the NSLP. The findings indicate that school food authorities generally have been determining free and reduced price eligibility in accordance with the regulatory requirements.
However, in spite of their efforts, data indicate that the number of children certified as eligible to receive free meals exceeds the number of children who should be eligible to receive those meals, given other poverty indicators. This rule would require school food authorities to report verification activity and results to their respective state agencies and require state agencies to analyze and act on these data and to report school food authority level data to the FNS.
Recordkeeping requirements would be revised consistent with the reporting requirements. Submission of these data on a school food authority basis will enable state agencies and FNS to improve and target oversight activities.