Worker and Family Assistance:

Observations on Selected Aspects of School Lunch Program Administration

Published: May 22, 1981. Publicly Released: May 22, 1981.

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A limited survey was conducted at three Pennsylvania school districts to obtain background information on selected aspects of school lunch program procedures for obtaining Federal reimbursement for lunches served.

All 13 elementary schools in one of the districts used monthly milk consumption records to determine the number of free lunches served during the month. Using such records could affect the accuracy of the count of free lunches. An envelope system is used to collect the lunch fees from the students, with those receiving a free lunch turning in an empty envelope. This system could be modified to more accurately count the number of free, reduced-price, and full-paid lunches served. Both schools in another school district were destroying meal tickets and daily tally sheets shortly after the meals were served, thereby making reported meal counts difficult to verify. Service regulations generally require that records supporting claims for Federal reimbursement be retained for 3 years. This district also included, as a cost of food used in its school menus, the estimated value of Government-donated commodities. Using these values as a basis for Federal reimbursement is improper since the schools do not pay for the commodities. Salaries of employees who were only partially involved or who were not involved at all were improperly charged to the State Administrative Expense fund.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, should take appropriate measures to resolve the problems caused by (1) use of milk consumption records by the Reading School District to determine the numbers of free lunches served each month; (2) destroying meal tickets and daily tally sheets, showing the number of free, reduced-price, and full-paid meals served, in the Bristol Borough School District; (3) Bristol Borough School District's inclusion, as a cost of food used in its schools menus, of the estimated value of Government commodities; and (4) the charging of total salary costs to the State Administrative Expense (SAE) fund of State employees who were only partially involved or not involved at all in activities properly chargeable to SAE.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

 

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