School meals funded despite shutdown, for now

Memo from USDA indicates that current appropriations will tide schools over through October.

Oct. 3—Despite the federal government shutdown that started Oct. 1, school meal programs will still be able to continue unabated, for the time being. According to a memo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to state directors of Child Nutrition programs, money to pay benefits for FY 2013 will still be available.

"This means school food authorities and other program operators would receive reimbursement for meals served prior to Oct. 1, 2013," the memo states. "FNS has confirmed that the Treasury ASAP letter of credit system will continue to operate and all state agencies will be able to draw funding for FY 2013 benefits."

As a result of the impasse between the U.S. Senate and House of representatives, most USDA Food & Nutrition Services employees have been furloughed. According to USDA, this means "staff will not be available by phone or email, and cannot carrry out work for the agency until funding is restored."

School meal providers are reimbursed for meals served under the NSLP 30 days after the end of the service month, meaning that school districts participating in the NSLP will not suffer from the shutdown, provided it ends before Oct. 31. After that, however, things could get dicey.

"Limited carryover funding will be available during a lapse to support FY 2014 meal service," the USDA memo reads. "Once an appropriation is enacted, we expect additional resources will be available to reimburgse October performance."

For more information on USDA's plans for an extended shutdown, visit www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

Ideas and Innovation
ticket stubs

Every week, our cooks pick an experimental kitchen project to expand their skills, culminating in a Friday contest where they cook a new dish that puts them out of their comfort zone. The winner of the weekly contest is awarded points and prizes. The cook with the most points at the end of the year receives a free ticket to an annual team gathering in Maine, where staffers bond and gain inspiration from coastal menus.

Managing Your Business
shaking hands graphic

Anyone who has moseyed down the self-help section of the local bookstore, probably has picked up on the mantra that positive relationships are built on trust. Employer-employee bonds are no different, according to research published in the January-February issue of Harvard Business Review. The study reports that employees at high-trust companies experience 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days and 76% more engagement. Here’s how operators can start putting those numbers on the board.

Putting in the effort

At the University of...

Ideas and Innovation
bowling ball pins

We patterned our chef culinary competition after the one pioneered by the University of Massachusetts. This year, 11 teams of college chefs registered. Each team gets the same market basket and has two hours to prepare three dishes. The starting times have to be staggered and nobody wants the 6 a.m. slot, so instead of randomly assigning times, this year we took the teams bowling and used their scores to determine starting times. The two teams with the highest combined bowling score got to pick their time slot first. Going bowling built camaraderie and team spirit before the teams even got...

FSD Resources