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

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

Menu Development
pho bowl

Achieving authenticity can be tricky. Late last year, Oberlin College landed in the news when students protested the way dining services at the Ohio school was botching ethnic food, serving up inauthentic versions of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a challenge other operators are confronting, too, often tapping staff and patrons for inspiration.

At 260-bed Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite, Executive Chef Bradley Czajka, himself of Polish-Ukrainian descent, started Global Stations as a way to recognize the diversity of cultures at the hospital. “We have such an...

Menu Development
sweet pea ravioli

On any given night at the Wake Robin senior living facility in Shelburne, Vt., residents may find spring sweet pea and mascarpone ravioli with white wine cream sauce or acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and cranberries on the menu. These dishes, along with a new sweet-potato burger topped with cilantro aioli, aren’t just delicious, says Director of Dining Services Kathy King. They’re also completely vegetarian.

The popularity of Meatless Mondays and the growing number of people who call themselves “flexitarians” have impacted menu development in every noncommercial sector. Although...

Managing Your Business
umass amherst food

Restaurateurs in Amherst, Mass., aren’t happy with UMass Dining .

Registered dietitian Dianne Sutherland told local NBC affiliate WWLP News in May that the high quality of food served on campus means students aren’t visiting neighborhood eateries as frequently as those businesses might like.

“Even our vendors who we work with, they get complaints from the restaurants that students are staying on campus,” she said. “They are already paying for the food; why should they [go] off campus to eat?” More than 19,000 Amherst students are on a meal plan—6,000 of whom live off campus...

FSD Resources