3551 AR - Food Service Operations

Business and Noninstructional Operations
Administrative Regulation No. 3551
Regulation reviewed:  October 17, 2013



With the exception of students who are eligible to receive meals at no cost, students or their parents/guardians may pay on a per-meal basis or may submit payments in advance. The Superintendent or designee shall maintain an account indicating payments received from each student or his/her parents/guardians for the purchase of school meals.

(cf. 3550 - Food Service/Child Nutrition Program) 

(cf. 3553 - Free and Reduced Price Meals)

School Meal Account Balances

At the beginning of the school year, parents/guardians shall be notified of the district’s meal payment policies and encouraged to prepay for meals whenever possible.

Students and their parents/guardians shall be notified whenever their account has a zero balance. Whenever a student’s account has an unpaid balance of $1 or more, the parent/guardian shall be notified by auto dialer daily that full payment is due.

If the final deadline has passed without payment, the site food service staff will deactivate the student’s account and notify the office that meals will not be provided. Students will not receive meals, except in exchange for cash or at the direction of a site administrator. If a meal is provided at the direction of a site administrator, the school site will be charged for the cost of the meal.
At the beginning of the school year, parents/guardian shall be notified of the district’s meal payment policies and encouraged to prepay for meals whenever possible.

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, and full-price meals. 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.

 Cafeteria Fund

All proceeds from food sales and other services offered by the cafeteria shall be deposited in the cafeteria fund as provided by law. The income and expenditures of any cafeteria revolving account established by the Governing Board shall be recorded as income and expenditures of the cafeteria fund. (Education Code 38090, 38091, 38092)

 The cafeteria fund shall be used only for Board-authorized expenditures necessary for the operation of school cafeterias in accordance with Education Code 38100-38103, 2 CFR 295 and the California School Accounting Manual.

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

 The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that food received through the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are handled, stored, and distributed in facilities which: (7 SFR 250.14)

  1. Are sanitary and free from rodent, bird, insect, and other animal infestation
  2. Safeguard foods against theft, spoilage, and other loss
  3. Maintain food at proper storage temperatures
  4. Store food off the floor in a manner to allow for adequate ventilation
  5. Take other protective measures as may be necessary

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

USDA food shall be used in school lunches as far as practicable, but also may be used in other nonprofit food service activities, with any revenue accruing to the district’s nonprofit food service account. Such activities may include school breakfasts or other meals, a la carte food sold to students, meals served to adults directly involved in the operation and administration of food service and to other school staff, and training in nutrition, health, food service, or general home economics instruction for students. (7 CFR 250.60)

Contracts with Outside Services/Providers

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)

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, including prices to be charged to students for meals, and shall monitor the food service operation through periodic on-site visits. The district shall not enter into a contract with a food service company to provide a la carte food services only, unless the company agrees to offer free, reduced-price, and full-price reimbursable meals to all eligible students. (Education Code 49554; 42 USC 1758; 7 CFR 210.16)

 Any contract for food service management 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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