Texas Department of Agriculture Authority
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) administers federal and state nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) under 42 U.S.C. Section 1751 et seq., and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) under 42 U.S.C. Section 1773. Agriculture Code 12.0025
Note: Regulations applicable to federal nutrition programs are found at the following:
7 C.F.R. 210: National School Lunch Program
7 C.F.R. 215: Special Milk Program for Children
7 C.F.R. 220: School Breakfast Program
7 C.F.R. 225: Summer Food Service Program
7 C.F.R. 245: Free and Reduced Price Eligibility
TDA shall require that school food authorities (SFAs) comply with the applicable provisions 7 C.F.R. Part 210. TDA shall ensure compliance through audits, administrative reviews, technical assistance, training guidance materials or by other means. 7 C.F.R. 210.19(a)(3)
[For the definition of "school food authority," see COA(LEGAL).]
TDA must conduct administrative reviews of all SFAs participating in the NSLP (including the Afterschool Snacks and the Seamless Summer Option) and SBP at least once during a 3-year review cycle, provided that each SFA is reviewed at least once every 4 years.
"Administrative reviews" means the comprehensive off-site and/or on-site evaluation of all SFAs participating in the specified programs. The term administrative review is used to reflect a review of both critical and general areas in accordance with 7 C.F.R. 210.18(g) and (h), as applicable for each reviewed program, and includes other areas of program operations determined by TDA to be important to program performance.
7 C.F.R. 210.18
School Nutrition Program Professional Standards
An SFA that operates the NSLP or the SBP must establish and implement professional standards for school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff.
Minimum Standards for School Nutrition Program Directors
Each SFA must ensure that all newly hired school nutrition program directors meet minimum hiring standards and ensure that all new and existing directors have completed the minimum annual training/education requirements for school nutrition program directors, as set forth in 7 C.F.R. 210.30.
7 C.F.R. 210.30
Schools that participate in the NSLP or SBP may sell food and beverages that do not meet nutritional standards outlined in 7 C.F.R. Parts 210 and 220 as part of a fundraiser, during the school day, for up to six days per school year on each school campus, provided that no specially exempted fundraiser foods or beverages may be sold in competition with school meals in the food service area during the meal service. 4 TAC 26.2
"School day" means the midnight before, to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day.
"School campus" means all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the school that are accessible to students during the school day.
4 TAC 26.1
Unpaid Meal Charges
The board of a district that allows students to use a prepaid meal card or account to purchase meals served at schools in the district shall adopt a grace period policy regarding the use of the cards or accounts. The policy:
- Must allow a student whose meal card or account balance is exhausted or insufficient to continue, for a period determined by the board, to purchase meals by:
- Accumulating a negative balance on the student's card or account; or
- Otherwise receiving an extension of credit from the district;
- Must require the district to notify the parent of or person standing in parental relation to the student that the student's meal card or account balance is exhausted;
- May not permit the district to charge a fee or interest in connection with meals purchased under item 1, above; and
- May permit the district to set a schedule for repayment on the account balance as part of the notice to the parent or person standing in parental relation to the student.
Education Code 33.908
An SFA operating a NSLP and/or SBP must:
- Have a written and clearly communicated meal charge policy in order to ensure a consistent and transparent approach to the issue of how students who pay the full or reduced price cost of a reimbursable meal are impacted by having insufficient funds on hand or in their account to purchase a meal.
- Include policies regarding the collection of delinquent meal charge debt in the written meal charge policy.
- Ensure that the policy is provided in writing to all households at the start of each school year and to households that transfer to the school during the school year.
- Provide the meal charge policy to all school or SFA-level staff responsible for policy enforcement, including school food service professionals responsible for collecting payment for meals at the point of service, staff involved in notifying families of low or negative balances, and staff involved in enforcing any other aspects of the meal charge policy.
Excerpts from USDA Memo SP 46-2016, Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Meal Charge Policies (July 8, 2016)
A district may not adopt any rule, policy, or program under Education Code 28.002 that would prohibit a parent or grandparent of a student from providing any food product of the parent's or grandparent's choice to:
- Children in the classroom of the child on the occasion of the child's birthday; or
- Children at a school-designated function.
Education Code 28.002(l-3)(2)
Donation of Food
A district may allow a campus to donate food to a nonprofit organization through an official of the nonprofit organization who is affiliated with the campus, including a teacher, counselor, or parent of a student enrolled at the campus. The donated food may be received, stored, and distributed on the campus. Food donated by the campus may include:
- Surplus food prepared for breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals or a snack to be served at the campus cafeteria, subject to any applicable local, state, and federal requirements; or
- Food donated to the campus as the result of a food drive or similar event.
The type of food donated may include packaged and unpackaged unserved food, packaged served food if the packaging is in good condition, whole uncut produce, wrapped raw produce, and unpeeled fruit required to be peeled before consumption.
Food donated to a nonprofit may be distributed at the campus at any time. Campus employees may assist in preparing and distributing as volunteers of the nonprofit organization.
A district may adopt a policy under which the district provides food at no cost to a student for breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals or a snack if the student is unable to purchase such meals or snack.
Education Code 33.907