3551 AR - Food Service Operations

Business and Noninstructional Operations
Administrative Regulation No. 3551
Regulation reviewed:  October 17, 2013
Revised: January 12, 2023
Revised: May 30, 2024


Payments for Meals

The Superintendent or designee shall maintain a system for accurately recording payments received and tracking meals provided to each student if students are charged for meals. 

At the beginning of the school year. The Superintendent or designee shall communicate the district’s meal payment policies through multiple methods, including, not limited to:

1. Explaining the meal charge policy within registration materials provided to parents/guardians at the start of the school year

2. Including the policy in print versions of student handbooks, if provided to parents/guardians annually

3. Providing the policy whenever parents/guardians are notified regarding the application process for free and reduced-price meals, such as in the distribution of applications at the start of the school year

4. Posting the policy on the district's web site

Reimbursement Claims
The Superintendent or designee shall maintain records of the number of meals served each day by school site and by category of free, reduced-price. The Superintendent or designee shall submit reimbursement claims for school meals to the California Department of Education (CDE) using the online Child Nutrition Information and Payment System.

Donation of Leftover Food
The District shall take steps to minimize food waste and reduce food insecurity in district schools.  (Health and Safety Code 114079)

The Superintendent or designee shall arrange to recover the maximum amount of edible food that would otherwise be disposed for donation to a local food recovery organization.  (14 CCR 18991.3)

The district may provide sharing tables where students and staff may return appropriate unused cafeteria food items to be made available to students during the course of a regular school meal time. If food on the sharing tables is not taken by a student, the school cafeteria may donate the food to a food bank or any other nonprofit charitable organization. (Health and Safety Code 114079)

Food that may be donated includes prepackaged, nonpotentially hazardous food with the packaging still intact and in good condition, whole uncut produce, that complies with Health and Safety Code 113992, unopened bags of sliced fruit, unopened containers of milk that are immediately stored in a cooling bin maintained at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and perishable prepackaged food if it is placed in a proper temperature-controlled environment. The preparation, safety, and donation of food shall be consistent with Health and Safety Code 113980. (Health and Safety Code 114079)
The Superintendent or designee shall maintain records related to edible food recovery including a list of each food recovery service or organization that collects or receives the district's edible food, contact information for the service or organization, the types of food, frequency, and quantity that will be collected or hauled by the district, and a copy of contracts or written agreements between the district and food recovery services or organizations.  (14 CCR 18991.4)

Cafeteria Fund and AccountAll proceeds from food sales and other services offered by the cafeteria shall be deposited in the cafeteria fund as provided by law. (Education Code 38090, 38093)

The cafeteria fund shall be used only for those expenditures authorized by the Governing Board as necessary for the operation of school cafeterias in accordance with Education Code 38100-38103, 2 CFR Part 200 Appendix VII, and the California School Accounting Manual.

The district may use cafeteria funds to supplement the provision of a nutritionally adequate breakfast and/or lunch to district students when permitted by law.

Any charges to, or transfers from, a food service program shall be dated and accompanied by a written explanation of the expenditure. (Education Code 38101)

Indirect costs charged to the food service program shall be based on either the district's prior year indirect cost rate as approved by CDE or the statewide average approved indirect cost rate for the second prior fiscal year, whichever is less. (Education Code 38101)

Net cash resources in the nonprofit school food service shall not exceed three months' average expenditures. (7 CFR 210.14, 220.7)

U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods

The district shall provide facilities for the storage and control of foods received through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that protect against theft, spoilage, damage, or other loss. Such storage facilities shall maintain donated foods in sanitary conditions, at the proper temperature and humidity, and with adequate air circulation. The district shall comply with all federal, state, or local requirements related to food safety and health and procedures for responding to a food recall, as applicable, and shall obtain all required health inspections. (7 CFR 250.14)

The Superintendent or designee shall maintain inventories of USDA foods in accordance with 7 CFR 250.59 and CDE procedures, and shall ensure that foods are used before their expiration dates.

USDA donated foods shall be used in school lunches as far as practicable. USDA foods also may be used in other nonprofit food service activities, including, but not limited to, school breakfasts or other meals, a la carte foods sold to students, meals served to adults directly involved in the operation and administration of the food service and to other school staff, and training in nutrition, health, food service, or general home economics instruction for students, provided that any revenues from such activities accrue to the district's nonprofit food service account. (7 CFR 250.59)

The term of any contract for management consulting services related to food services shall not exceed one year. Any renewal of the contract or further requests for proposals to provide such services shall be considered on a year-to-year basis. (Education Code 45103.5; 7 CFR 210.16)

Any contract for management of the food service operation shall be approved by CDE and comply with the conditions in Education Code 49544 and 7 CFR 210.16 as applicable. The district shall retain control of the quality, extent and general nature of its food services (Education Code 49554; 42 USC 1758; 7 CFR 210.16). 

Any contract for consulting services shall not result in the supervision of food service classified staff by the management consultant, nor shall it result in the elimination of any food service classified staff or position or have any adverse effect on the wages, benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment of classified food service staff or positions. All persons providing consulting services shall be subject to applicable employment conditions related to health and safety as listed in Education Code 45103.5 (Education Code 45103.5)

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