The majority of nationwide Child Nutrition Program (CNP) waivers previously offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) that impacted the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Child Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) expired on June 30, 2022. In the absence of nationwide waivers authorized by Congress, USDA allowed state agencies to submit individual state waiver requests for specific meal service flexibilities under the statutory requirements in Section 12(l) of the National School Lunch Act. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Office for Food and Nutrition Programs (FNP) requested all available meal service waiver flexibilities available, and they were subsequently approved by USDA on May 17, 2022, and May 24, 2022.
Additionally, the Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022 (KKFA), which was signed into law on June 25, 2022, allows USDA to provide support to schools in responding to supply chain challenges and high food costs for the upcoming school year. On June 30, 2022, USDA released a nationwide waiver based on authority amended by the KKFA in addition to allowing for temporary additional per meal reimbursements to address the high cost of food and continued supply chain disruptions.
Finally, on Thursday, July 28th, Governor Baker signed the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) State Budget which includes funding to allow for meals to be provided to all students in the Commonwealth at no charge for SY 2022–2023 (SY 22-23).
DESE FNP has put together the following questions and answers intended to provide clarification to both NSLP and CACFP program operators during school year SY 22-23.
The following questions and answers are subject to change in the event updated guidance is released by USDA or further nationwide waivers or policy announcements are released. DESE FNP will continue to update the document and reissue, as necessary.
School Meal Programs Questions and Answers
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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
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TTY: (800) 439-2370
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