News and Updates
USDA Government Shutdown Important Information
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service, has provided the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), with additional funding to support the Child Nutrition Programs during the partial government shutdown. Funds will be available to cover all meals, snacks and milk served until the end of March. The payment received in April will cover the reimbursement of meals, snacks and milk served in March. Funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is available until the end of the school year. Delivery of USDA Foods will continue as normal. DESE, Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), will continue to monitor the funding situation and provide updates as information becomes available.
Provided below is guidance regarding furloughed federal employees and how to treat for purposes of determining eligibility for school meals.
Q. Can households of furloughed employees be approved for free or reduced price school meal benefits? Should they be removed from the program when the furlough is over?
A. The income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced price school meals are based on annual income. While there is no prohibition on households with furloughed employees applying for benefits during a furlough, school food authorities (SFAs) should manage the application process in a manner which reflects their unique circumstances. During the furlough period, these households may not have information on the duration of the furlough or its ultimate impact on household income. Therefore, it is reasonable for SFAs to remind households that free or reduced price eligibility is intended to reflect actual annual income. School districts should urge any families who are approved for free or reduced-price meals based on their reduced income during a furlough period to terminate their free/reduced price status should the economic hardship they had anticipated due to the furlough be remedied by a return to work and/or restoration of pay for the furlough period.
In addition, families should be made aware that if they are selected for verification later in the school year, they will be required to produce documentation of actual income for the application month. School districts may choose to verify applications “for cause” if they have specific information indicating that the information on the application is not accurate.
SP-18-2018 - Child Nutrition Programs' Flexibilities for School Year 2018-19