Skip to main content


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, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted 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; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.