Administrative Review

Introduction to the Administrative Review

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requiring a unified accountability system designed to ensure that participating school food authorities (SFAs) comply with National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) requirements. The Administrative Review provides a comprehensive evaluation of school nutrition programs, and includes both Critical and General Areas of Review. Also, included in the review are the new HHFKA program requirements and other Federal programs.

The the review is outlined in sections below. Click on each section header below for more details on the specific topics.

Meal Access and Reimbursement (Critical Area – Performance Standard 1)

  • Certification and Benefit Issuance
  • Verification
  • Meal Counting and Claiming

Nutritional Quality and Meal Pattern (Critical Area – Performance Standard 2)

  • Meal Components and Quantities
  • Offer versus Serve
  • Dietary Specifications and Nutrient Analysis

Resource Management

  • Maintenance of Non-Profit School Foodservice Account
  • Allowable Costs
  • Paid Lunch Equity (PLE)
  • Revenue from Non-Program Foods
  • Indirect Costs
  • USDA Foods

General Program Compliance (General Areas)

  • Civil Rights
  • SFA On-site Monitoring
  • Local School Wellness Policy
  • Competitive Food Services
  • School Meal Environment Report Card
  • Water
  • Food Safety
  • Reporting and Recordkeeping
  • School Breakfast Program and Summer Food Service Program Outreach

Other Federal Program Reviews (Critical and General Areas)

  • Afterschool Snacks
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
  • Special Milk Program

Nutrition Services (NS) must conduct Administrative Reviews of all schools participating in the NSLP and/or SBP at least once during each three-year review cycle period, provided that each SFA is reviewed at least once every 4 years. The first three-year review cycle starts with school year (SY) 2013-14. However, for the first year of the new review cycle, NS must include any SFA scheduled for review in SY 2012-2013 whose review was postponed. In addition, NS is required to conduct an administrative review early in the review cycle for any SFAs that have not applied for the performance-based certification (6 cents) or whose certification request was denied during the certification process or “turned off” during a validation review for significant meal pattern violations.

The Administrative Review process is designed to allow NS to conduct specified aspects of the review off-site and other aspects on-site. Under an off-site component, NS will collect information from what we have available or directly from the school. This process allows NS to gain a better understanding of a school’s operations prior to the on-site review, thus providing for a more robust on-site review while decreasing NS’s on-site review time. The on-site portion of the Administrative Review is intended to validate the information collected off-site and provide an opportunity for NS to observe the operation of the school nutrition program in selected schools. The objectives of the new Administrative Review are the same as the former CRE and SMI objectives: determine whether the school meets program requirements; provide technical assistance; secure any needed corrective action; and assess fiscal action, if applicable. NS looks forward to this new approach to collaborative compliance.

Section 207 of the HHFKA amended section 22 of the NSLA (42 U.S.C. 1769c) to require State Agencies (SA) to report the final results of the administrative review to the public in an accessible, easily understood manner in accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Secretary. Regulations at 7 CFR 210.18(m) requires the SA to post a summary of the most recent final administrative review results for each SFA/Sponsor on the State agency’s publicly available website no later than 30 days after the SA provides the final results of the administrative review to the SFA/Sponsor. The SA must also make a copy of the final administrative review report available to the public upon request

Updated February 5, 2024 11:06am