Meal Charge Policies (UT)

Alexander Rony filed this request with the State Office of Education of Utah.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Alexander Rony

To Whom It May Concern:

I. Background Information

On July 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service sent a memorandum to all state directors of child nutrition programs entitled, "Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Meal Charge Policies." That memorandum is available here: https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/cn/SP46-2016os.pdf.

The memorandum set a July 1, 2017 deadline for all school food authorities (SFAs) operating the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) to have a written meal charge policy. This policy would apply to children who lack money for school meals at the full or reduced rate. Policies may be set by the state or by SFAs. According to the USDA's memorandum, "Policies developed at the SFA level must be provided to the State agency during the Administrative Review."

II. Requested Records

Pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act, I hereby request the following records:

1. A copy of any state-level meal charge policies to be implemented by all school food authorities (SFAs) operating the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) in the state.
2. Copies of meal charge policies developed by school food authorities and provided to the state, as directed by the USDA's July 2016 memorandum.
3. Copies of any spreadsheets that list the state's Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) that currently participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), Provision 2, or Provision 3 on a districtwide basis. Two examples are available at http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/fn/pdf/Approved%20CEP%20LEAs%20SY_2017-2018.pdf and https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/school-nutrition/pdf/cep-participating-schools-and-districts-1718.pdf. I prefer these in electronic, machine-readable file formats, such as CSV or XLS, though PDF works if those are not possible.

I do not need multiple documents or versions if they repeat the same information, and I am sensitive to the possibility that my second item (copies of SFA-developed policies) may take awhile in the search phase depending on how your state agency received and stored those records. I am willing to discuss these and any other issues further to make fulfillment more manageable for your office. I prefer being contacted through the email address listed in my submission, but I am willing to talk directly by email (alexander.rony@sierraclub.org) or phone (415-977-5739) if needed.

I would prefer the request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not. For databases, please export to a flat file.

III. Fees

If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me in advance of fulfilling the request. I am willing to pay up to $10.

I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public's understanding of how schools receiving federal nutrition assistance treat children who don't have enough money for food. This issue, and the related "lunch shaming" practices designed to force parents to pay their children's meal debt, have been top news stories for the past year throughout the country.

The Sierra Club is a national environmental nonprofit with no commercial interest in obtaining the requested information. Instead, our organization intends to analyze and disseminate the requested information free of charge so that the public has a single, clear location to identify meal charge policies around the nation. The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area by sending tens of thousands of letters to Congress about lunch shaming and anti-hunger programs, and by researching and identifying hundreds of meal charge policies across the nation.

In addition, I ask to be categorized as a representative of the news media. The bulk of my professional duties at the Sierra Club entails planning and writing content about public policy, including analyzing public record responses, coordinating public dissemination plans, and composing mass communications to our supporters. Here are a few examples of my work, or articles based on my work:

https://www.sierraclub.org/planet/2017/09/thousands-usda-research-jobs-stalled-during-hiring-freeze
https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/04/hiring-freeze-prevented-epa-filling-hundreds-jobs
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/05/19/nearly-700-vacancies-at-cdc-because-of-trump-administration-hiring-freeze/

The Sierra Club has the ability and intention to disseminate the information it receives through this request. The information may be shared through emails to an audience reaching into the millions, Facebook and Twitter posts reaching tens of thousands of followers, articles on our often-visited website, and analysis provided to the media.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response.

Sincerely,

Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: State Office of Education

Mr. Rony:

In response to your public records request, the Utah State Board of Education responds as follows:

1. A copy of any state-level meal charge policies to be implemented by all school food authorities (SFAs) operating the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) in the state.

A draft of policy recommendations was provided to SFAs from the state agency on May 9, 2014. A copy of the memo including the draft model policy can be found online at https://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/102649.pdf.

2. Copies of meal charge policies developed by school food authorities and provided to the state, as directed by the USDA's July 2016 memorandum.

The Meal Charge Policies for SFAs are reviewed onsite as part of the Administrative Review. Currently the USBE Child Nutrition Program do not keep copies of the SFAs policy/procedure. Many policies are posted on the Local Education Authority (LEA) websites. Here are some samples of what is posted publically.

Weber School District, posted 6/22/17, https://wsd.net/departments/support/child-nutrition/unpaid-meal-charges

Granite School District Food Services, SY16-17, https://www.graniteschools.org/foodservices/2015-2016-food-service-policy/

Alpine School District SY17-18, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B24DLEBn2Dysa2F3VDIwdUxPbms/view

Iron School District, https://irondistrict.org/helpcenter/5-policy-handbook/30-section-e-safety-and-security/90-lunch-policy/

Ascent Academy SY 17-18, https://ascentutah.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ascent-Meal-Charges-Procedure-2017.pdf

Summit Academy, https://1.cdn.edl.io/E7m8nm0tsO9GeDOneL2DWPAJPugz3l3ay200AasMPj6SSnSR.pdf

Franklin Discovery Academy http://franklindiscovery.org/parent-information-charge-policy

Other Organization Resources:

Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) Unpaid School Meal Fees; charge policies for 50 large districts, posted 9/12/17, http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/unpaid-school-meal-fees-review-50-large-district-policies-1.pdf

3. Copies of any spreadsheets that list the state's Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) that currently participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), Provision 2, or Provision 3 on a districtwide basis.

The annual notification for Community Eligibility Provision as required by USDA is posted on the USBE website at https://schools.utah.gov/data/reports > select CNP/NSLP tab.

Provision Summary

Active CEP Sites SY 17-18

District

School

Ogden (37)

Bonneville Elementary (103)

Dee Elementary (107)/ New Bridge (153)

George Washington High (729)

Gramercy Elementary (111)

James A Madison (151)

Odyssey Elementary (163)

Mound Fort JH (411)

Thomas O. Smith Elementary (179)

Heritage Elementary (119)

Hillcrest Elementary (123)

Horace Mann Elementary (131)

Lincoln Elementary (139)

San Juan (25)

La Sal Elementary (124)

Blanding Elementary (104)

Bluff Elementary (108)

Montezuma Creek Elementary (136)

Monticello Elementary (140)

Ts├ębii'nidzisgai Elementary (148)

Albert R Lyman Middle (308)

Monticello High (704)

Monument Valley High (706)

Navajo Mountain High (712)

Whitehorse High (710)

San Juan High (708)

Aneth (UZ)

Aneth Community School (1)

Naa Tsis' Aan (Q8)

Naa Tsis' Aan Community School (1)

Salt Lake (36)

M Lynn Bennion Elementary (204)

Liberty/formerly Lincoln Elementary (196)

Tooele (30)

Anna Smith Elementary (140)

Ibapah Elementary (116)

Wendover High (714)

Anna Smith Head Start (001)

Northlake Elementary (132)

Anna Smith Elementary (140)

Ibapah Elementary (116)

Wendover High (714)

North Sanpete (20)

Pleasant Creek School (801)

Provo (38)

Independence High (730)

Washington (33)

Water Canyon (118)

Provision 2

District

School

Guadalupe (1E)

Guadalupe School (100)

Dual Immersion (4E)

Dual Immersion (100)

Ut Schools for Deaf/Blind

Utah Schools for Deaf/Blind (411)

Utah Schools for Deaf/Blind Salt Lake Campus (412)

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Ben Rasmussen
Director of Law and Professional Practices
Utah State Board of Education
250 E. 500 So.
P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200
Tel.: (801) 538-7835
Fax: (801) 538-7768
ben.rasmussen@schools.utah.gov<mailto:ben.rasmussen@schools.utah.gov>

From: Alexander Rony

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Alexander Rony

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