National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Alternatives to Standard Application and Meal Counting Procedures
This final rule amends the regulations governing the procedures for determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Regulations provide school food authorities with two alternatives to the standard requirements for the annual determinations of eligibility for free and reduced price school meals and daily meal counts by type, commonly termed “Provision 1” and “Provision 2”. This final rule allows for an extension of Provision 2 procedures and provides a new alternative, “Provision 3”. For schools choosing to participate in one of the alternate eligibility determination and meal counting procedures, this final rule codifies the alternate counting and claiming provisions of Public Law 103-448 which have been implemented, and revisions to the counting and claiming provisions authorized by Public Laws 104-193 and 105-336. This final rule streamlines program operations for program administrators and participants. State agency and school food authority recordkeeping burdens are expected to decrease because the determinations of eligibility for free and reduced price meals will not be made as frequently. In addition, for those schools electing to participate, this final rule may increase participation in nutritious school meal programs, thereby helping students develop lifelong healthy eating habits. A primary reason for the expected increase in participation is that schools under Provision 2 and Provision 3 would be offering meals at no charge to all enrolled students.