The National School Lunch Act states that verification must be based on a school’s sample size as of October 1 each school year. However, LEAs are now allowed to begin verification once they begin the application approval process for the current school year and have approved applications on file. This means LEAs are not required to wait until October 1 to initiate the verification process and may instead choose to begin conducting verification once they begin the application approval process for the current school year.
When beginning verification prior to October 1, LEAs must:
- Decide how often to sample applications (weekly, every other week, etc.)
- Include in each sample pool only applications approved since the last sample was selected
- Select either 3 percent or 1.5 percent of approved applications, as required by the sampling method, each time. Round down to the nearest whole number to prevent over sampling
On or around October 1:
- Sample the final set of applications, selecting only from the applications approved since the last sampling
- Calculate the number of applications selected for verification to date (including the October sample)
- Calculate 3% or 3,00 (or 1.5%, if applicable) of all applications approved as of October 1, rounding up to the next whole number
- If the number of applications selected to date is less than 3%/1.5% number, fill the remainder of the sample by selecting randomly from error prone, categorically eligible, or all applications, approved since the beginning of the school year as required for the sampling method
- If there are not enough applications of the required type, then sample randomly from all applications
Please note that all existing statutory and regulatory requirements continue to apply when using this approach, but the timing and sampling process is tailored to accommodate the extended timeframe during which verification is being conducted.