7 CFR 225.15 - Management responsibilities of sponsors.

§ 225.15 Management responsibilities of sponsors.
(a) General.
(1) Sponsors shall operate the food service in accordance with: the provisions of this part; any instructions and handbooks issued by FNS under this part; and any instructions and handbooks issued by the State agency which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this part.
(2) Sponsors shall not claim reimbursement under parts 210, 215, 220, or 226 of this chapter. In addition, the sponsor must ensure that records of any site serving homeless children accurately reflect commodity allotments received as a “charitable institution”, as defined in §§ 250.3 and 250.41 of this chapter. Commodities received for Program meals must be based only on the number of eligible children's meals served. Sponsors may use funds from other Federally-funded programs to supplement their meal service but must, in calculating their claim for reimbursement, deduct such funds from total operating and administrative costs in accordance with the definition of “income accruing to the Program” at § 225.2 and with the regulations at § 225.9(d). Sponsors which are school food authorities may use facilities, equipment and personnel supported by funds provided under this part to support a nonprofit nutrition program for the elderly, including a program funded under the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.).
(3) No sponsor may contract out for the management responsibilities of the Program described in this section.
(b) Meal Ordering.
(1) Each sponsor shall, to the maximum extent feasible, utilize either its own food service facilities or obtain meals from a school food service facility. If the sponsor obtains meals from a school food service facility, the applicable requirements of this part shall be embodied in a written agreement between the sponsor and the school.
(2) Upon approval of its application or any adjustment in the approved levels of meal service for its sites established under § 225.6(d)(2), vended sponsors shall inform their food service management company of the approved level at each site for which the food service management company will provide meals.
(3) Sponsors shall plan for and prepare or order meals on the basis of participation trends with the objective of providing only one meal per child at each meal service. The sponsor shall make the adjustments necessary to achieve this objective using the results from its monitoring of sites. For sites for which approved levels of meal service have been established in accordance with § 225.6(d)(2), the sponsor shall adjust the number of meals ordered or prepared with the objective of providing only one meal per child whenever the number of children attending the site is below the approved level. The sponsor shall not order or prepare meals for children at any site in excess of the site's approved level, but may order or prepare meals above the approved level if the meals are to be served to adults performing necessary food service labor in accordance with § 225.9(d)(4). Records of participation and of preparation or ordering of meals shall be maintained to demonstrate positive action toward meeting this objective.
(4) In recognition of the fluctuation in participation levels which makes it difficult to estimate precisely the number of meals needed and to reduce the resultant waste, sponsors may claim reimbursement for a number of second meals which does not exceed two percent of the number of first meals served to children for each meal type (i.e., breakfasts, lunches, supplements, or suppers) during the claiming period. The State agency shall disallow all claims for second meals if it determines that the sponsor failed to plan and prepare or order meals with the objective of providing only one meal per child at each meal service. Second meals shall be served only after all participating children at the site's meal service have been served a meal.
(c) Records and claims.
(1) Sponsors shall maintain accurate records which justify all costs and meals claimed. Failure to maintain such records may be grounds for denial of reimbursement for meals served and/or administrative costs claimed during the period covered by the records in question. The sponsor's records shall be available at all times for inspection and audit by representatives of the Secretary, the Comptroller General of the United States, and the State agency for a period of three years following the date of submission of the final claim for reimbursement for the fiscal year.
(2) Sponsors shall submit claims for reimbursement in accordance with this part. All final claims must be submitted to the State agency within 60 days following the last day of the month covered by the claim.
(d) Training and monitoring.
(1) Each sponsor shall hold Program training sessions for its administrative and site personnel and shall allow no site to operate until personnel have attended at least one of these training sessions. The State agency may waive these training requirements for operation of the Program during unanticipated school closures during the period from October through April (or at any time of the year in an area with a continuous school calendar). Training of site personnel shall, at a minimum, include: the purpose of the Program; site eligibility; recordkeeping; site operations; meal pattern requirements; and the duties of a monitor. Each sponsor shall ensure that its administrative personnel attend State agency training provided to sponsors, and sponsors shall provide training throughout the summer to ensure that administrative personnel are thoroughly knowledgeable in all required areas of Program administration and operation and are provided with sufficient information to enable them to carry out their Program responsibilities. Each site shall have present at each meal service at least one person who has received this training.
(2) Sponsors shall visit each of their sites at least once during the first week of operation under the Program and shall promptly take such actions as are necessary to correct any deficiencies.
(3) Sponsors shall review food service operations at each site at least once during the first four weeks of Program operations, and thereafter shall maintain a reasonable level of site monitoring. Sponsors shall complete a monitoring form developed by the State agency during the conduct of these reviews.
(e) Media Release. Each sponsor shall annually announce in the media serving the area from which it draws its attendance the availability of free meals. Camps and other programs not eligible under § 225.2 (paragraph (a) of “areas in which poor economic conditions exist”) shall annually announce to all participants the availability of free meals for eligible children. All media releases issued by camps and other programs not eligible under § 225.2 (paragraph (a) of “areas in which poor economic conditions exist”) shall include: the Secretary's family-size and income standards for reduced price school meals labeled “SFSP Income Eligibility Standards”; a statement that children who are members of households receiving SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF benefits are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits at eligible program sites; and a statement that meals are available without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
(f) Application for free Program meals—
(1) Purpose of application form. The application is used to determine the eligibility of children attending camps and the eligibility of sites that are not open sites as defined in paragraph (a) of the definition of “areas in which poor economic conditions exist”, in § 225.2. In these situations, parents or guardians of children enrolled in camps or these other sites must be given application forms to provide information described in paragraph (f)(2) or (f)(3) of this section, as applicable. Applications are not necessary if other information sources are available and can be used to determine eligibility of individual children in camps or sites.
(2) Application procedures based on household income. The household member completing the application on behalf of the child enrolled in the Program must provide the following information:
(i) The names of all children for whom application is made;
(ii) The names of all other household members;
(iii) The social security number of the adult household member who signs the application or an indication that the household member does not have a social security number;
(iv) The income received by each household member identified by source of income;
(v) The signature of an adult household member;
(vi) The date the application is completed and signed.
(3) Application based on the household's receipt of SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF benefits. Households may apply on the basis of receipt of food stamp, FDPIR, or TANF benefits by providing the following information:
(i) The name(s) and SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF case number(s) of the child(ren) who are enrolled in the Program; and
(ii) The signature of an adult household member.
(4) Information or notices required on application forms. Application forms or descriptive materials given to households about applying for free meals must contain the following information:
(i) The family-size and income levels for reduced price school meal eligibility with an explanation that households with incomes less than or equal to these values are eligible for free Program meals (Note: The income levels for free school meal eligibility must not be included on the application or in other materials given to the household).
(ii) A statement that a child who is a member of a household that receives SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF benefits is automatically eligible to receive free meals in the Program;
(iii) A statement that reads, “In certain cases, foster children are eligible for free meals regardless of household income. If such children are living with you and you wish to apply for such meals, please contact us.”;
(iv) A Privacy Act notice informing households of how the social security number and other information provided on the application will be used. Each free and reduced price meal application must include substantially the following statement, “The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information on this application. You do not have to give the information, but if you do not, we cannot approve your child for free or reduced price meals. You must include the social security number of the adult household member who signs the application. The social security number is not required when you apply on behalf of a foster child or you list a SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) case number for your child or other (FDPIR) identifier or when you indicate that the adult household member signing the application does not have a social security number. We will use your information to determine if your child is eligible for free or reduced price meals, and for administration and enforcement of the Program.” When the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, plans to use or disclose children's eligibility information for non-program purposes, additional information, as specified in paragraph (i) of this section, must be added to the Privacy Act notice/statement. State agencies and sponsors are responsible for drafting the appropriate notice and ensuring that the notice complies with section 7(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a note (Disclosure of Social Security Number)).
(v) The statement used to inform the household about the use of social security numbers must comply with the Privacy Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-579). If a State or local agency plans to use the social security numbers for uses not described in paragraph (f)(4)(iv) of this section, the notice must be revised to explain those uses.
(vi) Examples of income that should be provided on the application, including: Earnings, wages, welfare benefits, pensions, support payments, unemployment compensation, social security, and other cash income;
(vii) A notice placed immediately above the signature block stating that the person signing the application certifies that all information provided is correct, that the household is applying for Federal benefits in the form of free Program meals, that Program officials may verify the information on the application, and that purposely providing untrue or misleading statements may result in prosecution under State or Federal criminal laws; and
(viii) A statement that if SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF case numbers are provided, they may be used to verify the current SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF certification for the children for whom free meals benefits are claimed.
(5) Verifying information on Program applications. Households selected to verify information on their Program applications must be notified in writing. State agencies must ensure that the notice of information about the use of social security numbers provided on applications complies with section 7 ofPub. L. 93-579 (Privacy Act of 1974). Households must be informed of the following:
(i) They must provide a social security number for each adult household member, or indicate that an adult household member does not have a social security number, or provide proof that they are receiving SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF benefits;
(ii) They will lose Program benefits or be terminated from participation if they do not cooperate with the verification process;
(iii) Social security numbers may be used to determine the correctness of information on applications and continued eligibility for Program benefits;
(iv) They will be given the name and phone number of an official who can assist in the verification process;
(v) Verification may occur during program reviews, audits, and investigations;
(vi) Verification may include contacting employers, SNAP or welfare offices, or State employment offices to determine the accuracy of statements on the application about income, receipt of SNAP, FDPIR, TANF, or unemployment benefits; and
(vii) They may lose benefits or face claims or legal action if incorrect information is reported on the application.
(g) Disclosure of children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information to certain programs and individuals without parental consent. The State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, may disclose aggregate information about children eligible for free and reduced price meals to any party without parental notification and consent when children cannot be identified through release of the aggregate data or by means of deduction. Additionally, the State agency or sponsor may disclose information that identifies children eligible for free and reduced price meals to the programs and the individuals specified in this paragraph (g) without parent/guardian consent. The State agency or sponsor that makes the free and reduced price meal eligibility determination is responsible for deciding whether to disclose program eligibility information.
(1) Persons authorized to receive eligibility information. Only persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of a program or activity listed in paragraphs (g)(2) or (g)(3) of this section may have access to children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information, without parental consent. Persons considered directly connected with administration or enforcement of a program or activity listed in paragraphs (g)(2) or (g)(3) of this section are Federal, State, or local program operators responsible for the ongoing operation of the program or activity or persons responsible for program compliance. Program operators may include persons responsible for carrying out program requirements and monitoring, reviewing, auditing, or investigating the program. Program operators may include contractors, to the extent those persons have a need to know the information for program administration or enforcement. Contractors may include evaluators, auditors, and others with whom Federal or State agencies and program operators contract with to assist in the administration or enforcement of their program in their behalf.
(2) Disclosure of children's names and free or reduced price meal eligibility status. The State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, may disclose, without parental consent, only children's names and eligibility status (whether they are eligible for free meals or reduced price meals) to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of:
(i) A Federal education program;
(ii) A State health program or State education program administered by the State or local education agency;
(iii) A Federal, State, or local means-tested nutrition program with eligibility standards comparable to the National School Lunch Program (i.e., food assistance programs for households with incomes at or below 185 percent of the Federal poverty level); or
(3) Disclosure of all eligibility information. In addition to children's names and eligibility status, the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, may disclose, without parental consent, all eligibility information obtained through the free and reduced price meal eligibility process (including all information on the application or obtained through direct certification) to:
(i) Persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of programs authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. This means that all eligibility information obtained for the Summer Food Service Program may be disclosed to persons directly connected with administering or enforcing regulations under the National School Lunch Program, Special Milk Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) (parts 210, 215, 220, 226 and 246, respectively, of this chapter);
(ii) The Comptroller General of the United States for purposes of audit and examination; and
(iii) Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials for the purpose of investigating any alleged violation of the programs listed in paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) of this section.
(4) Use of free and reduced price meals eligibility information by programs other than Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). State agencies and sponsors may use children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information for administering or enforcing the Summer Food Service Program. Additionally, any other Federal, State, or local agency charged with administering or enforcing the Summer Food Service Program may use the information for that purpose. Individuals and programs to which children's free or reduced price meal eligibility information has been disclosed under this section may use the information only in the administration or enforcement of the receiving program. No further disclosure of the information may be made.
(h) Disclosure of children's free or reduced price meal eligibility information to Medicaid and/or SCHIP, unless parents decline. Children's free or reduced price meal eligibility information only may be disclosed to Medicaid or SCHIP when both the State agency and the sponsor so elect, the parental/guardian does not decline to have their eligibility information disclosed and the other provisions described in paragraph (h)(1) of this section are met. The State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, may disclose children's names, eligibility status (whether they are eligible for free or reduced price meals), and any other eligibility information obtained through the free and reduced price meal applications or obtained through direct certification to persons directly connected with the administration of Medicaid or SCHIP. Persons directly connected to the administration of Medicaid and SCHIP are State employees and persons authorized under Federal and State Medicaid and SCHIP requirements to carry out initial processing of Medicaid or SCHIP applications or to make eligibility determinations for Medicaid or SCHIP.
(1) The State agency must ensure that:
(i) The sponsors and health insurance program officials have a written agreement that requires the health insurance program agency to use the eligibility information to seek to enroll children in Medicaid and SCHIP; and
(ii) Parents/guardians are notified that their eligibility information may be disclosed to Medicaid or SCHIP and given an opportunity to decline to have their children's eligibility information disclosed, prior to any disclosure.
(2) Use of children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information by Medicaid/SCHIP. Medicaid and SCHIP agencies and health insurance program operators receiving children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information must use the information to seek to enroll children in Medicaid or SCHIP. The Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment process may include targeting and identifying children from low-income households who are potentially eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP for the purpose of seeking to enroll them in Medicaid or SCHIP. No further disclosure of the information may be made. Medicaid and SCHIP agencies and health insurance program operators also may verify children's eligibility in a program under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 or the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.
(i) Notifying households of potential uses and disclosures of children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information. Households must be informed that the information they provide on the free and reduced price meal application will be used to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals and that their eligibility information may be disclosed to other programs.
(1) For disclosures to programs, other than Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), that are permitted access to children's eligibility information, without parental/guardian consent, the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, must notify parents/guardians at the time of application that their children's free or reduced price meal eligibility information may be disclosed. The State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, must add substantially the following statement to the Privacy Act notice/statement required under paragraph (f)(4)(iv) of this section, “We may share your eligibility information with education, health, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs; auditors for program reviews; and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules.” For children determined eligible for free meals through the direct certification, the notice of potential disclosure may be included in the document informing parents/guardians of their children's eligibility for free meals through direct certification.
(2) For disclosure to Medicaid or SCHIP, the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, must notify parents/guardians that their children's free or reduced price meal eligibility information will be disclosed to Medicaid and/or SCHIP unless the parent/guardian elects not to have their information disclosed and notifies the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, by a date specified by the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate. Only the parent or guardian who is a member of the household or family for purposes of the free and reduced price meal application may decline the disclosure of eligibility information to Medicaid or SCHIP. The notification must inform parents/guardians that they are not required to consent to the disclosure, that the information, if disclosed, will be used to identify eligible children and seek to enroll them in Medicaid or SCHIP, and that their decision will not affect their children's eligibility for free or reduced price meals. The notification may be included in the letter/notice to parents/guardians that accompanies the free and reduced price meal application, on the application itself or in a separate notice provided to parents/guardians. The notice must give parents/guardians adequate time to respond if they do not want their information disclosed. The State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, must add substantially the following statement to the Privacy Act notice/statement required under paragraph (f) of this section, “We may share your information with Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program, unless you tell us not to. The information, if disclosed, will be used to identify eligible children and seek to enroll them in Medicaid or SCHIP.” For children determined eligible for free meals through direct certification, the notice of potential disclosure and opportunity to decline the disclosure may be included in the document informing parents/guardians of their children's eligibility for free meals through direct certification process.
(j) Other disclosures. State agencies and sponsors that plan to use or disclose information about children eligible for free and reduced price meals in ways not specified in this section must obtain written consent from children's parents or guardians prior to the use or disclosure.
(1) The consent must identify the information that will be shared and how the information will be used.
(2) There must be a statement informing parents and guardians that failing to sign the consent will not affect the child's eligibility for free meals and that the individuals or programs receiving the information will not share the information with any other entity or program.
(3) Parents/guardians must be permitted to limit the consent only to those programs with which they wish to share information.
(4) The consent statement must be signed and dated by the child's parent or guardian who is a member of the household for purposes of the free and reduced price meal application.
(k) Agreements with programs/individuals receiving children's free or reduced price meal eligibility information. Agreements or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) are recommended or required as follows:
(1) The State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, should have a written agreement or MOU with programs or individuals receiving eligibility information, prior to disclosing children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information. The agreement or MOU should include information similar to that required for disclosures to Medicaid and SCHIP specified in paragraph (k)(2) of this section.
(2) For disclosures to Medicaid or SCHIP, the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate, must have a written agreement with the State or local agency or agencies administering Medicaid or SCHIP prior to disclosing children's free or reduced price meal eligibility information to those agencies. At a minimum, the agreement must:
(i) Identify the health insurance program or health agency receiving children's eligibility information;
(ii) Describe the information that will be disclosed;
(iii) Require that the Medicaid or SCHIP agency use the information obtained and specify that the information must be used to seek to enroll children in Medicaid or SCHIP;
(iv) Require that the Medicaid or SCHIP agency describe how they will use the information obtained;
(v) Describe how the information will be protected from unauthorized uses and disclosures;
(vi) Describe the penalties for unauthorized disclosure; and
(vii) Be signed by both the Medicaid or SCHIP program or agency and the State agency or sponsor, as appropriate.
(l) Penalties for unauthorized disclosure or misuse of children's free and reduced price meal eligibility information. In accordance with section 9(b)(6)(C) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1758(b)(6)(C)), any individual who publishes, divulges, discloses or makes known in any manner, or to any extent not authorized by statute or this section, any information obtained under this section will be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for up to 1 year, or both.
(m) Food service management companies.
(1) Failure by a sponsor to comply with the provisions of this section shall be sufficient grounds for the State agency to terminate that sponsor's participation in accordance with § 225.18.
(2) Any sponsor may contract with a food service management company to manage the sponsor's food service operations and/or for the preparation of unitized meals with or without milk or juice. Exceptions to the unitizing requirement may only be made in accordance with the provisions set forth at § 225.6(h)(3).
(3) Any vended sponsor shall be responsible for ensuring that its food service operation is in conformity with its agreement with the State agency and with all the applicable provisions of this part.
(4) In addition to any applicable State or local laws governing bid procedures, and with the exceptions identified in this paragraph, each sponsor which contracts with a food service management company shall comply with the competitive bid procedures described in this paragraph. Sponsors which are schools or school food authorities and which have an exclusive contract with a food service management company for year-round service, and sponsors whose total contracts with food service management companies will not exceed $10,000, shall not be required to comply with these procedures. These exceptions do not relieve the sponsor of the responsibility to ensure that competitive procurement procedures are followed in contracting with any food service management company. Each sponsor whose proposed contract is subject to the specific bid procedures set forth in this paragraph shall ensure, at a minimum, that:
(i) All proposed contracts are publicly announced at least once, not less than 14 calendar days prior to the opening of bids, and the announcement includes the time and place of the bid opening;
(ii) The bids are publicly opened;
(iii) The State agency is notified, at least 14 calendar days prior to the opening of the bids, of the time and place of the bid opening;
(iv) The invitation to bid does not specify a minimum price;
(v) The invitation to bid contains a cycle menu approved by the State agency upon which the bid is based;
(vi) The invitation to bid contains food specifications and meal quality standards approved by the State agency upon which the bid is based;
(vii) The invitation to bid does not specify special meal requirements to meet ethnic or religious needs unless such special requirements are necessary to meet the needs of the children to be served;
(viii) Neither the invitation to bid nor the contract provides for loans or any other monetary benefit or term or condition to be made to sponsors by food service management companies;
(ix) Nonfood items are excluded from the invitation to bid, except where such items are essential to the conduct of the food service;
(x) Copies of all contracts between sponsors and food service management companies, along with a certification of independent price determination, are submitted to the State agency prior to the beginning of Program operations;
(xi) Copies of all bids received are submitted to the State agency, along with the sponsor's reason for choosing the successful bidder; and
(xii) All bids in an amount which exceeds the lowest bid and all bids totaling $100,000 or more are submitted to the State agency for approval before acceptance. State agencies shall respond to a request for approval of such bids within 5 working days of receipt.
(5) Each food service management company which submits a bid over $100,000 shall obtain a bid bond in an amount not less than five (5) percent nor more than ten (10) percent, as determined by the sponsor, of the value of the contract for which the bid is made. A copy of the bid bond shall accompany each bid.
(6) Each food service management company which enters into a food service contract for over $100,000 with a sponsor shall obtain a performance bond in an amount not less than ten (10) percent nor more than twenty-five (25) percent of the value of the contract, as determined by the State agency, of the value of the contract for which the bid is made. Any food service management company which enters into more than one contract with any one sponsor shall obtain a performance bond covering all contracts if the aggregate amount of the contracts exceeds $100,000. Sponsors shall require the food service management company to furnish a copy of the performance bond within ten days of the awarding of the contract.
(7) Food service management companies shall obtain bid bonds and performance bonds only from surety companies listed in the current Department of the Treasury Circular 570. No sponsor or State agency shall allow food service management companies to post any “alternative” forms of bid or performance bonds, including but not limited to cash, certified checks, letters of credit, or escrow accounts.
(n) Other responsibilities. Sponsors shall comply with all of the meal service requirements set forth in § 225.16.
[54 FR 18208, Apr. 27, 1989, as amended at 55 FR 13470, Apr. 10, 1990; 61 FR 25553, May 22, 1996; 64 FR 72486, Dec. 28, 1999; 64 FR 72898, Dec. 29, 1999; 65 FR 82251, Dec. 28, 2000; 66 FR 2202, Jan. 11, 2001; 72 FR 10895, Mar. 12, 2007; 76 FR 22798, Apr. 25, 2011]

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