School Nutrition Newsletter

July 22, 2020

Don't Forget! School Re-Entry Guidance and Updates for School Nutrition Programs 2020 - 2021

  • IDOE has released a Re-Entry Guidance Newsletter for schools.
  • This newsletter will be continuously updated with guidance and information from IDOE and USDA.
  • New Fact Sheets and Health and Safety Resources were added this week!
  • Click here to access the newsletter.
  • Additionally, IDOE has created a webpage to house new resources from IDOE and USDA.
  • Click here to access this webpage.

NEW! CNPweb Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Need assistance with your sponsor and/or site sheets in the CNPweb?
  • Not quite sure what a particular question is asking?
  • Cannot figure out how to fix an error?
  • IDOE now has in-depth instructions for completing the 2021 CNPweb application.
  • Click here to access this helpful resource!

CNPweb 2021 Reminders

  • Questions? Complete the CNPweb Help Form to ensure that your questions are sent to the correct person for a response.
  • Reminder! The 504 Coordinator is typically someone who works in special education, counseling, or some other administrative position at the school. The 504 Coordinator is not necessarily the same person that is conducting the civil rights training, but rather is the person overseeing and or setting up 504 plans for students.
  • Also, schools should continue to enter in the information regarding how meal service will be conducted on box #14 on the site sheets.
  • Don't forget! IDOE will be hosting a webinar on the CNPweb Renewal Process on Tuesday, July 30, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Click here to register.

Resource Request Form

  • IDOE's Resource Request Form is back open for all sponsors!
  • Request hard copies of IDOE's most popular resources, handbooks, fact sheets, and more!
  • Documents will be mailed to the address specified by the individual submitting the request for free!
  • For a list of what documents are available and to request documents to be mailed to you, click here.
  • Questions? Contact Maggie Schabel at

Culinary Skills for A+ School Meals

  • Have you joined IDOE's virtual culinary trainings yet?
  • Perhaps you are waiting for a proper invitation. Well, here it is!
  • IDOE invites you to join Cathy Powers and culinary associates to enhance your culinary portfolio and learn tips and tricks from the pros.
  • Join us Monday - Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. EST to explore culinary skills for School Nutrition Programs sponsors.
  • Cathy Powers and her team of professionals present live demos showcasing school nutrition tips and recipes.
  • Sponsors are encouraged to register for as many trainings as they would like!
  • The best part is – these virtual trainings are free. Plus, you earn professional standards hours. Win, win situation!

Free and Reduced Frequently Asked Questions

Which applications should be verified for cause?

  • Schools can only verify an application "for cause" once the application has been approved for benefits.
  • If an application is questionable, schools can contact the household for answers before approving the application. However, these questions should not hold up approval if the application is complete and indicates the student is eligible for free or reduced price benefits.
  • Approve the application and then verify for cause.
  • The school has an obligation to verify all questionable applications. Those include:
  1. Applications from those who did not respond to verification requests the previous school year.
  2. Error prone applications (those close to the income guideline cut-off).
  3. Applications with zero income.
  4. SNAP (food stamp)/TANF applications that cannot be found on the Direct Certification & Verification website.
  5. Foster applications that do not result in a clear identification of foster status during the approval process.
  6. School employee applications that misrepresent income (see SP 13-2012 Verification for Cause in the School Meals Programs regarding the submission of school district employees’ applications.
  • Click here for more information on Verification for Cause.

Can a school use direct verification to when verifying an application for cause?
  • Starting school year 2020-2021, direct verification can be used to verify, not certify, an application when verifying an application for cause and during the annual verification process.
  • Since direct verification uses different matching criteria, it should NEVER be used to initially determine eligibility (i.e. do not approve a student's eligibility using direct verification).
  • To determine a student's eligibility, use direct certification or process a free and reduced application at face value.
  • Click here to access the Direct Certification/Direct Verification website.

If a household checks the foster box next to a student, can a school approve the application on face value or is documentation required that proves foster status?
  • A school does not need to prove that the student is a foster child.
  • However the school should always first check if current foster documentation has already been collected by the school, try to conduct direct certification lookup, or call the household for more information before approving the application.
  • A school should never hold up the approval of an application.
  • If the household cannot be reached or if they provide enough information that sounds like the situation is legitimate, then approve the application based on face value.
  • A school can always verify for cause if there questions about the application.
  • Check out the Foster Approval Fact Sheet for more information.

Do eLearning days count towards the 30-day carryover?

  • If a school is providing meal service on eLearning days, then these would be considered operating days and would be included in the 30-day carryover.
  • Don't forget, meals provided on days that students are in the school building for regular school count as operating days, too.
  • If a school is not providing meal service on eLearning days and students are not in the school building for regular school, then these days do not count towards the first 30 operating days.
  • Check out the 30-Day Carryover Fact Sheet and the 30-Day Carryover Calculator.

Households are submitting zero income applications. How are these processed? Would unemployment and stimulus money be required on the application?

  • Schools must process applications even when income fields are left blank and do not have a $0, “zero”, or “no income” written next to the household members.
  • The application and instructions must convey to the applicant that any income field left blank is a positive indication of no income and certifies that there is no income to report.
  • Schools should approve the application based on face value and flag this application to verify for cause.
  • If a household is receiving unemployment, this money should be included on the application.
  • Since income according to the Eligibility Guidance Manual is any money (before deductions), received on a recurring basis and stimulus money is not recurring, it is not required to be included on the application.
  • Check out the No Income Fact Sheet for more information.

When a student transfers to another school district during the school year, what information can be shared with the new school?

  • Unlike carryover, which occurs at the start of the new school year, transfer of eligibility applies when a child transfers to another school any time during the school year.
  • For documentation purposes, the school that the student transfers from may send along the household’s original notification letter that indicates the student is eligible for free or reduced benefits that school year or even an email that indicates the student’s name, the date determined free or reduced, and how that student qualified – DC, income application, categorical application, foster documentation, etc.
  • A copy of the application does not need to go to the new school.
  • Check out the Transferring Eligibility Fact Sheet for more information.

What information should a school review every year before finalizing their free and reduced software system?

  • Schools utilizing free and reduced software should attend appropriate software training and purchase updates or upgrades for the system when necessary.
  • It is up to the school to ensure that the application and all accompanying forms are accurate and include everything that the template Free and Reduced Application and letters include.
  • In addition, but not limited to, the software system must have the capability to save original applications that were submitted (even if subsequent applications are submitted), carry over eligibility from the previous school year but then end that carryover when a new application or DC status is processed or once the 30-day carryover has ended (whichever comes first), save applications for at least five years, categorize applications and DC status based on type such as Medicaid, Food Stamp, Foster, etc. (for verification purposes), and differentiate between DC Free and DC Reduced.
  • Check out the newly revised Checklist for Online Free and Reduced Applications for more tips and reminders.

When a family submits a second application within the same school year, how should the school process this application?

Is the Indiana Department of Education Work Survey considered valid documentation of migrant status?

  • An Indiana Department of Education Work Survey completed by the household is not considered valid documentation, unless the migrant liaison has signed and dated the survey to indicate migrant status.
  • Check out the Migrant Fact Sheet for more information.

Direct Certification Questions

Annual Financial Report (AFR)

  • All SFAs participating in USDA School Meals Programs are required to submit a food service Annual Financial Report (AFR) each year.
  • The report categorizes food service revenues and expenditures by program for July 1 through June 30, which is the school fiscal year.
  • The AFR is due annually by August 31, and must be submitted by accessing CNPWeb.
  • Click here for more information on how to complete and resolve errors on the AFR.
  • Questions? Contact the SCN Finance Team at

Non-Program Revenue Tool

  • The Non-Program Revenue Tool should be completed along with each sponsor's AFR.
  • When the Non-Program Revenue Tool has been completed School Food Authorities (SFAs) should keep it on file for a review or an audit. Sponsors do not need to send this form in for approval.
  • The purpose of completing the revenue from non-program foods tool is to ensure that revenues from the sales of non-program foods generate at least the same proportion of SFA revenues as they contribute to SFA food costs.
  • Time Period: It depends on SFA’s fiscal year, but it usually coincides with your school year (July 1 through June 30th).
  • What is considered a non-program food? Non-program food is a food (including beverages) that is sold in a participating school other than a reimbursable meal and is purchased using funds from the school food service account of the school. These include but are not limited to:
    • A la carte items sold in competition with school meals
    • Adult meals
    • Items purchased for fundraisers, vending machines, school stores, etc.
    • Items purchased for catering and vended meals
  • What is considered revenue? Revenue is all money that is provided to the nonprofit school food service account. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Federal reimbursement
    • State or local funds, such as per meal subsidies and State revenue matching funds
    • Children’s payments for reimbursable meals and a la carte sales
    • Payments for items purchased for fundraisers, vending machines, etc.
    • Income from catering, adult meals, vended meals, etc.
  • Click here to access the Non-Program Revenue Tool.
  • Click here to access the USDA memo regarding Non-Program Revenue.
  • Questions? Contact the SCN Finance Team at Please make sure to enter your sponsor number and Non-Food Pricing in your email's subject line.

Indiana Department of Education - School and Community Nutrition

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this newsletter, please contact Allie Caito-Sipe at, call (317) 232-0849, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20849, or contact Ashley Heller at, call (317) 232-0544, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20544.

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