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Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

School Food Service Directors/Managers
Frances N. O'Donnell, Coordinator
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Terminating Participation in the National School Lunch Program

In response to the new meal pattern regulations, a few public schools have inquired as to what action needs to be taken to end participation in the National School Lunch Program either in a specific school or for the entire district.

Before you pursue this option, carefully consider all the ramifications of this decision. The Child Nutrition Office is available to assist you to understand and comply with the new meal pattern requirements. Directors/managers all across the State are working together to learn new menu planning strategies.

Schools may find it impossible to operate a food service program without the federal and State funds provided as reimbursement rates are close to $3.00 for both free and reduced price lunches. It will be difficult to accommodate the needy children that were otherwise provided nutritious meals under this program. In addition, USDA foods are not available for ala carte programs.

If after careful consideration, you still decide to opt out of the program in your school(s), the following procedures need to be followed:

A public school district is required to give 60-day notice to the Commissioner of Education (sent to the Child Nutrition Office) and parents or guardians of their intent to terminate the lunch program so that all will have time to respond to the proposal.

The 60-day time period begins when the district newsletter or directly-mailed notice is received by the parents or the date the distribution is made to students, depending on what method is used. A notice placed in a newspaper will not constitute “notice” for purposes of this legislation.

The notice of program termination, which schools are required to provide to the Commissioner of Education, can be accomplished by providing a letter from the President of the Board of Education to the Child Nutrition Program Office. The letter should state the date when termination is to occur, what method of parent or guardian notification has been or will be used and the reason the district is proposing this action. The Child Nutrition Program Administration team must receive the notice of proposed termination within 15 days from the start of the 60-day period. Upon completion of the review of the notice of proposed termination, the school district will be notified of the approved date for termination no later than 30 days prior to the date the approval is granted.

Non-public schools must send a letter on official letterhead notifying the Child Nutrition Office of the effective date they will no longer participate and the last month they intend to claim meals.

Any questions regarding this should be directed to your Child Nutrition Representative.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)     mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
         Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
         1400 Independence Avenue, SW
         Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)     fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)     email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


For Nondiscrimination Statement translations, click here.

Los demás programas de asistencia nutricional del FNS, las agencias estatales y locales, y sus beneficiarios secundarios, deben publicar el siguiente Aviso de No Discriminación:

De conformidad con la Ley Federal de Derechos Civiles y los reglamentos y políticas de derechos civiles del Departamento de Agricultura de los EE. UU. (USDA, por sus siglas en ingles), se prohíbe que el USDA, sus agencias, oficinas, empleados e instituciones que participan o administran programas del USDA discriminen sobre la base de raza, color, nacionalidad, sexo, discapacidad, edad, o en represalia o venganza por actividades previas de derechos civiles en algún programa o actividad realizados o financiados por el USDA.

Las personas con discapacidades que necesiten medios alternativos para la comunicación de la información del programa (por ejemplo, sistema Braille, letras grandes, cintas de audio, lenguaje de seas americano, etc.), deben ponerse en contacto con la agencia (estatal o local) en la que solicitaron los beneficios. Las personas sordas, con dificultades de audición o discapacidades del habla pueden comunicarse con el USDA por medio del Federal Relay Service [Servicio Federal de Retransmisión] al (800) 877-8339. Además, la información del programa se puede proporcionar en otros idiomas.

Para presentar una denuncia de discriminación, complete el Formulario de Denuncia de Discriminación del Programa del USDA, (AD-3027) que está disponible en linea en: y en cualquier oficina del USDA, o bien escriba una carta dirigida al USDA e incluya en la carta toda la información solicitada en el formulario. Para solicitar una copia del formulario de denuncia, llame al (866) 632-9992. Haga llegar su formulario lleno o carta al USDA por:

(1)     correo: U.S. Department of Agriculture
         Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
         1400 Independence Avenue, SW
         Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)     fax: (202) 690-7442; o

(3)     correo electró

Esta institución es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.