Members of both Senators Rounds and Thune's offices gave an update from Washington DC to conference attendees at our Welcome luncheon. Two state legislators - State Senator Al Novstrup (R-Aberdeen) and State Representative Carl Perry (R-Aberdeen) - also attended events in Aberdeen. A big thank you for their participation at our conference!
Some states (not South Dakota at this time) have been notified that “due to labor shortages and warehouse capacity” the company will be unable to serve their school meal programs for the 2021/22 school year. As you can imagine, this presents a dire situation for schools and districts that awarded bids to this company last spring and are now scrambling to find a distributor to supply their meal programs in time for back to school. Read the entire letter here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released new resources to help tackle unpaid meal charges, including updated fact sheets and communication strategies and payment methods that can help support students and parents. They’ve also uploaded documents that can be adapted for your program, including a Charge Policy Training Presentation, talking points and an excess balance letter and donation form. You can find all of USDA’s Unpaid Meal Charge resources and information on the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) website.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service issued a memo to provide guidance to State agencies who have determined that the 3-year review cycle hinders effective allocation of State agency resources and negatively impacts program management. FNS will allow State agencies to request waivers of the 3-year review requirement and extend the review cycle. The memo also noted that FNS “strongly encourages” State agencies to coordinate internally when they administer multiple programs to identify opportunities to streamline the review and participation requirements for Child Nutrition Programs. Specifically, FNS encourages states to allow SFAs to align CNP administrative activities and perform different monitoring activities concurrently, such as administering procurement reviews and administrative reviews on the same cycle.