The New York State Educational Conference Board (NYS ECB) has published a paper recommending New York continue universal school meals programs such as the following:
Launch a free universal
school meal program to students statewide.
Rather than relying on federal help, the ECB is looking for the State to ensure students of all ages, in the public school system, are getting meals free of charge.
Include all federally allowable categories in the State’s electronic Direct
Certification Matching Process (DCMP).
Expanding the allowable categories for direct certification may increase reliance on federal reimbursements and thereby decrease the financial burden for New York’s statewide universal school meals program.
Increase State and federal meal reimbursements to keep up with
rising costs of food.
Due to inflation and supply chain shortages, meals for students have increased as well. The ECB would like the State and the federal government to increase meal reimbursements.
Increase federal Community Eligibility Provision reimbursement multiplier.
Due to the rising costs around the country, the ECB is requesting the federal government increase the multiplier from 1.6 to 2.5.
Streamline the Child and Adult
Food Care Program (CACFP).
After-school meals for after-school programs are provided through CACFP, which is currently run through the Department of Health (DOH), while after-school programs are run by school districts or licensed providers by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Improving the communication between the DOH, SED, and OCFS will enable more students to receive meals after school.
Establish a permanent, nationwide Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program.
The ECB is recommending the federal government establish a permanent Summer EBT program to ensure children have access to meals during the summer months.
Increase the State’s
small purchase threshold.
The State threshold is currently $20,000 while the federal threshold is $250,000. An increase in the State threshold will allow school districts to have a greater selection of vendors and can allow districts to respond to market scarcity and supply chain issues and shortages of certain locally sourced products.
When there are purchases less than or equal to federal, State, or local purchase thresholds, there are additional requirements. These types of purchases require competitive bids from a minimum of three bidders. With supply chain shortages, school districts need flexibility to source products that vendors cannot provide.
Review State restrictions
around bidding processes and purchases.
The ECB is recommending that the State review the impact of the existing requirements of General Municipal Law 103 and see where there may be more flexibility with purchasing.
Maintain federal waivers that have
provided flexibility in meal delivery.
Waivers helped students to be served outside of traditional mealtimes, allowing guardians/parents more flexibility to pick up the meals and bring them home to their children. ECB supports maintaining these waivers to allow flexibility in meal delivery when districts face conditions where this would be warranted.
Garrett is a member of Cerini & Associates’ audit staff where he works with our nonprofit clients. He also focuses his efforts on supporting and aiding the Audit Department in day to day obligations. Garrett has experience in accounting, auditing, and claims auditing. Garrett’s knowledge and experience allows him to provide specific services including system testing and analysis, as well as claims audit functions.