Changes Proposed to the Administrative Review
7.17.2015 CFPA submitted comments on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) proposed rule regarding Administrative Reviews in the School Nutrition Programs.
The administrative review (AR) is a mandatory evaluation of school nutrition programs that monitors compliance with federal requirements. This proposed rule revises the State agency's AR process by establishing a unified accountability system, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The new process consolidates existing monitoring systems and is intended to streamline the monitoring process. In addition to establishing a unified system, the proposed rule expands the scope of the review and requires the State agency to make the results of the review available to the public.
Overall, CFPA is supportive of USDA's efforts to implement a uniform AR system and to require that the reviews be made publicly available. In addition, CFPA supports the expansion of the AR to include other federal programs as well as "readily observable" areas for the on-site review.
To strengthen the proposed rule, CFPA recommended that USDA:
- Solicit feedback from stakeholders on the new FNS prescribed forms, tools and instructions, as well as the format for fulfilling the transparency requirement.
- Encourage State agencies to customize the AR to go beyond the mandated areas of review, for example, to monitor Smarter Lunchrooms techniques.
- Further expand the General Areas of Review to include, (1) metrics measuring food quality, appeal, and student acceptance, and (2) the monitoring of existing requirements established under state law.
- Provide additional direction and emphasis on the role of the State agency to provide ongoing guidance and technical assistance to sites.
- Require that the AR results be communicated to the public in an accessible and easy to understand manner, such as through an online, searchable database.
- Require the AR results be accessible from the school and district websites and posted at the school site in the languages that represent the school communities.
- Move quickly to propose the transparency requirement under Section 209 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and ensure consistency between transparency requirements of Sec. 204, 207 and 209.
Questions? Contact Anna Colby at 213.482.8200 ext. 204