THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
It has been brought to our attention that some schools may be claiming for meals served to students on weekends, vacations, holidays, recess weeks, etc. This serves as a reminder to School Food Authorities (SFAs) that all enrolled students must be required to be at school in order to claim meals for reimbursement. In other words, the day must be a regularly scheduled education day on your school calendar. Therefore, meals served on Saturdays and other days when school is not regularly in session are not reimbursable, despite any school funded extra-curricular activity that is taking place such as football, band or choral activity.
Traditional schools which operate Monday through Friday receive federal and state reimbursement for meals or milk served during the periods set aside for meal and milk service during the regular school week. Meals and milk served by the SFA on the weekend may be reimbursable only if the activity is an integral part of the curriculum or an actual extension of the local educational program that all enrolled students are required to attend. The decision as to whether an activity is an integral part of or extension of the curriculum is to be made by those who determine curriculum in the State education agency, in conjunction with a review of the actual situation with the local SFA.
This does not prohibit you from providing meals to students who come in on the weekend for a sports event, spring concert, remedial or enrichment classes etc. Some schools choose to provide meals to hungry children on weekends; however, these meals are not eligible to be claimed for reimbursement. Also, if a school does serve meals on Saturday or during school vacations, food purchased with food service funds cannot be used. We understand that as the economic situation worsens, more families qualify for free or reduced meals, and we share your concern about the nutritional welfare of our economically disadvantaged children. However, the intent of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs is to provide meals to children when school is in session, not during vacations, holidays, spring or winter breaks, etc. Technically, it is not within the scope of USDA’s regulatory authority to reimburse meals under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs on those days when school is not in session.
Schools who require all enrolled children to be in attendance for Saturday and/or Sunday classes because those days are regular school days may be reimbursed for meals served on those educational days.
Boarding schools that serve meals or milk on weekends may be reimbursed only if the weekend is an extension of the weekday educational program, as defined by the State education agency. However, residential child care institutions may be reimbursed for meals served on weekends.
In all cases, care must be taken to ensure that accurate records are maintained, including meal or milk counts for free, reduced price and paid categories, as appropriate.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office at (518) 473-8781.