Each recipient agency is allocated their fair share of each commodity that is allocated to a state based on the number of reimbursable lunches served the previous school year divided by the total number of reimbursable lunches served. This number is then divided by the total number of reimbursable lunches served in the state of Alabama. If the state receives a total of 5,000 cases of a particular commodity and one recipient agency is entitled to .0150 of the state total that agency would receive 75 cases of that particular product.
The USDA School Breakfast and Lunch Programs earn federal revenue based on the number of free, reduced-price, and paid meals served and claimed by the organization that has an approved application and agreement on file with the State Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs. In addition to the federal reimbursement, other sources of funds are earned through daily cash sales to students, ala carte sales to students and teachers, catering, and other special functions. There is a State of Alabama mandated transfer of funds from the school system's general fund to the child nutrition fund to cover the state mandated raises and fringe benefits for child nutrition employees. USDA regulations, 7CFR 210.14(a) states "Revenues received by the nonprofit school food service are to be used only for the operation or improvement of such food service, except that, such revenues shall not be used to purchase land or buildings, or to construct buildings..." The primary allowable costs include salaries and fringe benefits, food, supplies, purchased services, equipment, and indirect costs. Child Nutrition funds MAY NOT be used to pay for items such as bad debts (bad checks, uncollected charged meals, uncollected catering functions, etc.), fines, and penalties, interest, unapproved capital projects, passenger vehicles, costs associated with providing adult meals, alcoholic beverages, entertainment, and costs of personal memberships. Child Nutrition Funds may also not be used to purchase foods of minimum nutritional value.
Each school system participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program is required to provide an application to each student in the school district. Eligibility is determined based on family income. Families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals; families with income between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals; and families with income over 185 percent of the poverty level pay full student price for meals.
The policy prohibits "any food or beverage that has sugar or high fructose corn syrup listed as the first ingredient on the school premises until after the end of the last scheduled class". This would not preclude a parent from bringing a birthday cake, cupcakes, or other baked item for a birthday party. It does preclude any use of soft drinks or sweetened beverages to such a celebration during the school day. It would be very important to read the label and make the determination if an item has the first ingredient listed as sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
This policy does not restrict what parents may provide for their own child's breakfast, lunch, or snack. Parents may provide any item, including foods of minimum nutritional value for their own child's consumption, but may not provide the restricted items to other children at school during the school day. However, a local school board or even an individual school may adopt a more restrictive policy and limit the items that a child may bring. It is best to check with your school for individual policies.
No foods of any type may be sold at any place on the school campus during meal service times, to include breakfast and lunch times. Neither may fundraisers be planned to occur just before the meal service in an effort to sell food items that would decrease participation in the school breakfast or school lunch program. All fund raisers should examine the items being sold and choices must promote good health. This includes the selling of food as students gather on the school campus before school begins or as students wait on transportation or otherwise exit the school campus following school dismissal. No fundraisers may sell foods of minimal nutritional value during the school day or as described above. All events outside the school day are exempt from this policy.
No fundraisers may sell foods of minimal nutritional value during the school day. All sales conducted after school hours are exempt from this policy. In any event, the label of the food item must be reviewed. The restrictions are that no food item with sugar or high fructose corn syrup may be available to children during school hours. Some chocolate does not have sugar listed as the first ingredient.
Teachers may use foods for instructional purposes as long as the items are not considered FMNV, as defined by USDA, or candy. Students in those classes that used foods as part of the instructional curriculum may consume those foods prepared as part of the class as long as they do not provide them to other students and/or classes. Foods provided as part of the class or school cultural heritage event are exempt from the policy, as long as the foods served are not served in competition to the school meal, during lunch or breakfast and regular meal service must continue to be available to all students.
Each recipient agency receives commodities based on the number of reimbursable lunches that that agency served the previous year, multiplied times the per meal assistance level for the current year. The per meal assistance level (PAL) for the 2002-03 school year is 15.25 cents per reimbursable lunch. If a recipient agency served 100,000 lunches the previous year, the agency would be entitled to $15,250.00 worth of entitlement commodities during the current year.
The USDA also makes some additional commodities available to recipient agencies that are called bonus commodities. Bonus items are provided due to an over supply of a particular item. This effort assists the agricultural community by pulling some of the excess off the commercial market and helps to stabilize the price of that item. These bonus items are extra and do not count toward meeting the recipient agency's total entitlement figure discussed in the paragraph above.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in more than 98,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions in the United States. Federal assistance allows a reimbursable meal, depending on family income, to be offered at no charge, reduced charge and full paid meal price. The meal pattern for lunch provides one-third of the recommended daily allowance for children. The meal price for reduced price student can be no more that 40 cents. The full paid student and district staff is established yearly by the school system and approved by the local school board. In 2001 over 89,079,859 reimbursable lunches were sold in Alabama.
The Summer Food Service Program was created to ensure children in low-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast. Children in low-income communities are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year through the National School Lunch (NSLP) and School Breakfast Programs (SBP) but those programs end when school ends for the summer. Although nearly 14 million children depend on nutritious free and reduced-price meals and snacks at school for 9 months out of the year, only about 2 million receive free meals provided by the SFSP during the summer months.
The School Breakfast Program is a federal entitlement program providing states with cash assistance for nonprofit breakfast. It was started in 1966 as a pilot project and made permanent in 1975. The meal pattern provides students one-fourth of their recommended daily allowance. Children from families at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Schools may not charge more than 30 cents for a reduced price breakfast. Schools set the rate for the paid students who pay full meal price. Any child, at a participating school, may purchase a meal through the School Breakfast Program. In 2001 over 150,627 breakfasts were served in Alabama.
Carbonated beverages are considered in the category of foods of minimal nutritional value by the USDA and are not allowed as part of the National School Lunch Program as per the NSLP Federal Regulation 7 CFR 210.
The USDA decided to assist the National School Lunch Program because American agriculture was in need of a major outlet for many of the domestically produced crops other than the traditional commercial market. The decision to purchase products produced in America for use in our schools helps remove some of the surplus commodities and helps stabilize farm prices. Since the National School Lunch Act was passed in 1946, there has been a strong and healthy relationship between the school lunch program and the USDA commodity program.