School Meals

We administer several federal programs that provide healthy food to children including the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Each of these programs helps fight hunger and obesity by reimbursing organizations such as schools, child care centers, and after-school programs for providing healthy meals to children. Learn more about United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) School Meal regulations

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Program

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Program (FFVP) provides an opportunity to receive funding for fresh fruits and vegetables in schools. This program is an effective and creative way of introducing fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snack options to children. Elementary Schools with 50% or more eligible for free or reduced-price meals are eligible to participate. Schools that participate in the program will be able to offer free fruits and vegetables to students during the school day. Several schools in Vermont will be selected to participate. For more information, email Cheryl Rogers or call (802) 479-1360.

Procurement for School Meals Programs

USDA regulations require that School Food Authorities (SFAs) follow procurement practices that allow for fair and open competition when purchasing any goods or services with funds from the non-profit school food service account. USDA regulations specify that purchases below a small purchase threshold may be conducted using an informal procurement method. State of Vermont regulations set the small purchase threshold at $15,000. Local Supervisory Unions, Towns, or School Districts may set lower small purchase thresholds.

Informal Procurement Method

When a purchase will fall below the small purchase threshold, SFAs should get prices for the same product or service from three or more vendors, record those prices, and go with the lowest price vendor that meets all requirements set out by the SFA. USDA and State of Vermont regulations do not require a specific format for documenting each procurement. However, documentation is required. You may find the following templates helpful in documenting purchases that fall under the small purchase threshold. 

You may also choose to document procurement with your own spreadsheet, a paper or electronic file system, or any other written or electronic documentation that shows the procurement took place.

Formal Procurement Method

In Vermont, a formal procurement method, such as a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Invitation for Bid (IFB) process must be followed for all purchases of $15,000 or more, made out of the non-profit school food service account. If there is a lower small purchase threshold set by the Supervisory Union, Town, or School District, then a formal procurement method should be used for purchases above the local small purchase threshold. School Food Service Managers should request assistance from their Supervisory Union or School Business Managers in conducting a formal procurement process.

Administrative Reviews

This federally required Administrative Review is Child Nutrition Program's assessment of your school food authority's administration of the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and other school nutrition programs. The objectives of the Administrative Review are to:

  1. determine whether your School Food Authority meets program requirements,
  2. provide technical assistance, 
  3. secure any needed corrective action, and
  4. assess fiscal action, if applicable.

The review process is conducted over several months and involves both off-site assessment work (prior to the onsite visit), as well as onsite visits to your central office and all of the meal sites selected for review. Evaluations made during the off-site assessment phase determine the focus and extent of the onsite review. 

Paid Lunch Equity Pricing Rule

USDA published a rule in 2011 requiring schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure that sufficient funds are provided to the non-profit food service account for paid student or adult lunches. Reimbursement earned on free and reduced price meals may not be used to support paid or adult lunches. Schools may meet this requirement through prices charged for paid student lunches and/or through local funds provided to the food service account targeted for paid meals. For the school year 2016-2017, USDA has set the weighted average price of a paid lunch at $2.78. The Paid Lunch Equity Tool is intended to help schools determine what they should be charging for lunch or providing through local funds to the school food service account.

Adult meal prices for the school year 2016-2017 must be at least $3.45 to meet requirements. It is also recommended that schools evaluate their breakfast prices for next year. The average price charged for breakfast in elementary schools ranges between $1.25 and $1.50.

For more information, contact: Laurie Colgan, Child Nutrition Programs, (802) 479-1187.

On-site Monitoring Form

School Food Authorities that have more than one site, and those that contract with a food service management company (whether or not there are multiple sites), must conduct and document an on-site monitoring of the meal count system. The on-site monitoring must be completed by February 1 each year.

School Wellness Policies/Creating a Healthy School Nutrition Environment

The wellness policy requirement was established by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 and further strengthened by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It requires each LEA participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program to develop a wellness policy.

Vermont School Wellness Policy Guidelines

Food Safety

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, strengthens the existing food safety requirements in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP) and all other Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs operated in a school. Section 302 of the Act amends section 9(h)(5) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1758(h)(5)) by requiring that the school food safety program based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles be applied to any facility or part of a facility in which food is stored, prepared or served for the purposes of the NSLP, SBP or other FNS programs. The school food safety program, required since 2004, addresses food safety in all aspects of school meal preparation, ranging from procurement through service. FNS anticipates that only minor modifications to existing food safety programs will be needed in order to meet this requirement.

United States Department of Agriculture  Policies

Contact Us

Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Rebecca Holcombe
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

(802) 479-1030 | aoe.edinfo@vermont.gov
Staff Directory | Division and Team Phone Numbers

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