Financial Management

Prohibition on Subsidizing Meals for Non-Program Adults

Program Adults

The nonprofit school food service may not provide meals at no charge to adults unless the adult qualifies as a “program adult” as defined here. A teacher, administrator, custodian, other staff member or food service volunteer is considered to be a program adult only if both of the following conditions are met, on a case-by-case basis:

1. The adult is directly involved with School Nutrition Programs. For example: cooking, serving, taking meal counts, claims, billing, processing applications for free/reduced-price meals, cleaning the kitchen area.

2. The tasks performed by the adult for School Nutrition Programs must constitute at least 50 percent of the employee or volunteer’s time working at the school.

If both of the above conditions are met, the school food authority may, at its discretion, provide meals at no charge to the program adult and this is an allowable cost to the school food service account. The school food authority must take into consideration whether the food service fund balance is sufficient to subsidize meals for program adults.

Non-Program Adults

An adult that does not meet the conditions above for a “program adult” is considered to be a “non-program” adult. The cost of meals provided to non-program adults is not an allowable cost to the school food service account. Meals may not be provided at no charge (for example, as a benefit) to a non-program adult unless the school:

1. Reimburses the school food service account for the costs of the adult meals (see paragraph below about minimum adult prices) from another nonfederal funding source outside the food service, for example, the general fund.*

2. Maintains documentation of the payments to the school food service account.

*The general fund may pay for meals served to a non-program adult only if the meals are documented to be part of the employment contract of the adult receiving the meals.

Meals served to non-program adults must be priced at least at the minimum adult lunch and breakfast prices that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) announces each year. Refer to the document Meal Pricing Requirements available on the School Nutrition Programs / Financial Management page of the MDE-Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) website.

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture FNS Instruction 782-5, Rev. 1, Pricing of Adult Meals in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.