Food Services

History of School Lunches

  • Part of the school day since the 1800's
  • Saved the students from running home for lunch
  • First successful progrm was run in the Boston public schools
  • Spread to other schools in the Northeast

Federal Government Involvment

  • Sparked by the Great Depression
  • Increased use of commodities spark growth in agriculture
  • National School Lunch Program signed into law in 1946 by President Truman
  • Improve the health of soldiers enlisting
  • Recognized that student who are not hungry will learn better

Child Nutrution Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-642) - subsidy for lunches for needy children

The School Breakfast Program was a pilot of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 - authorized in 1975

1995 - The Department of Agriculture stepped in and set standards for school lunches through the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children

1999 - The Afterschool Snack Program provided snacks for children involved in programs at the end of the school day

2004 - The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act

  • Food safety and sanitation
  • wellness policies
  • verification of free and reduced meal applications
  • techology to obtain data from schools

2010 - The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act - designed to combate childhool obesity

In Pennsylvania the School Food Authorties must follow guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture and the administration of the PA Department of Education.

Food Service Management

Centralized - Food Service director/manager/supervisior oversee the entire operation with cafeteria managers running individual sites

Principal has little control dor responsibilities - the managers report to the director

Decentralized - building cafeteria managers run the entire operation including making the menues and following guidelines

Principal may play a bigger role and be the supervisor for the cafeteria manager

Depending on the size of the district, the School Food Service Director will need college degree and management experience

How is the food serviced department run in your district?

Types of meal programs

  • School Breakfast Program
  • School Lunch Program
  • Community Eligibility Provision - Option program for schools with more than 40% free, homeless, runaway, or migrant
  • Afterschool Snack Program
  • Special Milk Program
  • Summer Food Service Program
  • CACFP Supper Program - High poverty areas

Reimbursable Meals

Breakfast - a grain, a fruit or vegetable, and milk. A meat/alternative can be offered if the grain requirement is met.

Lunch - Meat/meat alternative, a grain, a vegetable subgroup, a fruit, and milk

Lunches set up by grade bands - k -5, 6 - 8, and 9 -12

Competetive foods - foods sold in the cafeteria during lunch hours. This includes vending machines, fundraisers and school stores.

Must be either a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food, a "whold-grain rich" grain product, or a combination food that contains at least 1/4 cup of fruit or vegetable OR contain 10 percent of the Daily Value of naturally occurring calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or fiber

Schools are reimbursed only if the meals are complient with all regulations.

Trend for food services to add to the general budget rather than be general fund overhead.

Reimbursable Meal

  • Must offer in correct portion
  • subsidized by the federal and state government
  • Subsidy varies year-to-year

Offer versus Serve

  • 1980's
  • Allowed students to decline a certain amount of food items
  • Designed to offer more choices
  • Reduce plate waste
  • Must happen at high schools
  • Districts decide if that is offered at other levels
  • Rules apply for breakfast and after school snacks


Smart snacks (USDA 2013) - requires that all food sold at school meets minimum requirements. Elimates junk food at school

  • School day is 12:01AM until 30 minutes after the official end of the day
  • Campus is defined as the area students have access to
  • Must meet a set of criteria
  • No caffeine for grades k to 8
  • Condiments are included in the nutritional profile
  • Chewing gum is exempt

Food Defense and Security

Reauthorization Act of 2004 requires two health inspections of each school kitchen every year.

Food Defense - protection of food products from intentional adulteration or contamination

Food Security - maintaing a food supply within a country to provide for its citizens during a crisis

Audits, Reviews, and Records

An on-site visit and review must be done before February 1st every year for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. It is to be unannounced and they reviewer must view all serving lines. All records should be kept for three years.

Every five years PDE, Division of Food and Nutrition, Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management does a review to ensure school are financial accountable for meals served and reimbursement recieved.

Free and reduced applications are filled out by families every year. Eligibilty is based on family size and income.

Between October 1 and November 15 each year schools must conduct a verification. This is an internal checks and balance to ensure free and reduced applications are filled out accurately. Generally 3% of applications are part of the verfication process.

Audits are conducted to verify the finacial status of a school's food service program.

  • local auditors - annually
  • state Auditor General's Office - every 2-3 years
  • Annual Financial Report to PDE - annual submission


If food services cannot support their own costs, the General Fund can absorb the costs of:

  • Food servide director
  • Custodial services
  • Pesticide costs
  • Trash fee
  • New Equipment

If food services is deemed profitable, they can absorb some line items from the general budget such as:

  • Trash, custodial, pesticides
  • Paying for utilities
  • Paying for office support
  • Pay for debt service for equipment and construction

It is more common for food services to be supported by the General Fund. When this happens, the meals are typically at the lowest cost possible. If food services is showing a profit, they have their prices too high.

Considerations for food service managers:

  • Choices and options for students
  • Tight schedules for students
  • Downtime for workers
  • Getting through the lunch lines fast enough
  • Costs for changes in the master schedule



  • Food service manager - Teri Gamez
  • Teri's direct supervisor is the business manager - meet daily
  • Each of the six buildings have a cafeteria manager
  • Each manager is supervised by the cafeteria manager

My interaction and conversations with Eilene Good - cafeteria manager

  • Any changes to the daily schedule
  • Drills and special events
  • Changes to master schedule for the next year
  • Conversations about students she is concerned about
  • Conversations about employees
  • Discipline within the cafeteria

Keagy, D. R., & Piper, D. M. (2016). Pennsylvania school business: a guide for educational administrators: a foundation text for superintendent and principal eligibility certification programs (Fourth Edition). Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.


Created with images by Micah Sittig - "SMIC cafeteria" • crackdog - "classroom" • USDAgov - "20111012-FNCS-LSC-0260" • USDAgov - "Nov 17 - CN - DC - Strawberries 2" • Yuya Tamai - "food" • anyjazz65 - "Snack Time?" • offthelefteye - "sink washing hands water" • USDAgov - "Inspector testing food quality" • stevepb - "calculator calculation insurance"

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