Financial Management for School Nutrition Programs

Related Resources

The resources below provide additional guidance for school food authorities (SFAs) on additional topics related to the financial management of the school nutrition programs.

Administrative Review  |   Buy American Provision
Food Service Management Company Contracts  |   Inventory Management
Procurement  |   Professional Development  |   Federal and State Funding

Administrative Review

The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, as amended by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), requires a unified accountability system designed to ensure that SFAs comply with the USDA's requirements for the NSLP and SBP. The Act also requires an accountability system that conducts administrative reviews (ARs) to evaluate NSLP and SBP requirements during a three-year cycle. ARs are conducted by the CSDE's school nutrition programs staff. The AR requirements are defined in 7 CFR 210.18. For more information, visit the CSDE's Administrative Review for School Nutrition Programs webpage.

Buy American Provision

USDA regulations 7 CFR 210.21(d) and 7 CFR 220.16(d) require school food authorities to purchase, to the maximum extent practicable, domestic commodities or products. This provision supports the mission of the child nutrition programs to serve children nutritious meals and support American agriculture. For more information, visit the "Buy American Provision" section of the CSDE's Procurement for School Nutrition Programs webpage.

Food Service Management Company Contracts

SFAs that contract with a food service management company (FSMC) must comply with all applicable federal, state and local procurement requirements. For more information, visit the CSDE's Food Service Management Company webpage.

Inventory Management

Effective inventory management is an essential component of a well-managed school nutrition program. The focus of inventory management practices is to control costs, which contributes to successful financial management. Inventory management practices include receiving and storage of food and supplies; recordkeeping and tracking; controlling inventory cost; and forecasting.


SFAs must comply with all applicable Federal, state, and local laws and regulations for proper procurement of goods and services (2 CFR 200 and 7 CFR 210). For more information, visit the CSDE's Procurement for School Nutrition Programs webpage.

Professional Development

Training and professional development are important to help school nutrition directors and managers understand how to use sound financial management concepts and principles in the school nutrition programs.

Federal and State Funding

The USDA provides two types of support for school meals: 1) cash reimbursements for meals that meet the NSLP and SBP meal patterns and snacks that meet the ASP meal pattern; and 2) USDA Foods. Additional state funding is provided to Connecticut SFAs through state match for the NSLP, the State School Breakfast Grant Program, and (for public schools only) Healthy Food Certification.

  • Reimbursement for Meals and Snacks in the School Nutrition Programs: SFAs receive federal reimbursements for lunches, breakfasts, afterschool snacks, and milk served to students participating in the NSLP, SBP, SSO, ASP, and SMP. The reimbursement rates are determined annually by the USDA and are effective from July 1 through June 30. SFAs submit claims online through the CSDE’s Online Application and Claiming System for Child Nutrition Programs (CNP System) following the deadlines in the CSDE’s Claim Submission Schedule.
  • State Match for the NSLP: Section 7 CFR 210.17 of the NSLP regulations requires states to appropriate a minimum level of state funds (“state match”) to be paid as reimbursement to SFAs that participate in the NSLP. The funding level for Connecticut’s state match is $2,354,000. Historically, the CSDE’s calculation for state match payments includes lunch meal counts for the NSLP from the prior year (July 1 through June 30) and the SSO (after the end of the academic school year through the start of the next academic school year). SFAs receive 75 percent of state match funds in the fall and 25 percent in the spring.
  • State School Breakfast Grant Program: Section 10-266w of the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) provides for grants to schools that participate in the SBP and meet the definition of a severe need school. “Severe need school” means a school in which 1) the school is participating, or is about to participate, in a breakfast program; and 2) 20 percent or more of the lunches served to students at the school in the fiscal year, two years prior to the grant year, were served free or at a reduced price. The amount of School Breakfast Grant Program funds is authorized in each fiscal year within available appropriations. Within the limits of available funds, eligible local or regional boards of education are entitled to $3000 for each severe need school in the school district that provides a SBP. Funding may vary slightly each year, depending on the number of SBP sites.
  • Healthy Food Certification (HFC) Funding: C.G.S. Section 10-215f requires that each board of education or governing authority for all public schools participating in the NSLP must certify annually to the CSDE whether the district will follow the Connecticut Nutrition Standards (CNS) for all foods sold to students separately from reimbursable school meals. Districts that choose to follow the CNS receive an additional 10 cents per lunch (within available appropriations), based on the total number of reimbursable lunches (paid, free, and reduced) served in the district in the prior school year for the NSLP. The amount of HFC funds is authorized in each fiscal year within available appropriations. Funding may vary slightly each year depending on the number of HFC districts. For more information, visit the CSDE's HFC webpage,
  • USDA Foods: SFAs receive an annual Planned Assistance Level (PAL) based on the number of reimbursable lunches served in the previous school year (July 1 through June 30) multiplied by the federal meal rate. The federal meal rate for USDA Foods changes each July. The current meal rate for USDA Foods is included in the CSDE’s reimbursement rates memo for the current school year. Each SFA decides how to use their PAL budget. USDA Foods are available to schools in several ways, including Direct Delivery USDA Foods, Further Processed USDA Foods, the USDA Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Pilot, and the SFSP USDA DoD Pilot. For more information, visit the CSDE's Food Distribution Program (USDA Foods) webpage.