HISD’s Food Services is undergoing this week a routine but intensive “Coordinated Review Effort” (or CRE), in which state and federal authorities will be evaluating all aspects of the district’s school meal program.
Auditors from USDA and the Texas Department of Agriculture will be reviewing 22 pre-selected HISD school lunch programs, ten breakfast programs, the district’s Fruit & Vegetable program and its afterschool snack program The audit, which is conducted in HISD every two years, will include a review of the department’s financials, the accuracy with which it determines student eligibility for free or reduced price meals, and its actual operations: food preparation, food safety, compliance with nutritional standards, compliance with civil rights law and more. If violations are found during the CRE, federal funding can be withheld from the district.
At our January Food Services Parent Advisory Committee meeting, representatives of Food Services reported to us that the department has been undergoing intensive preparation for the CRE, including conducting pre-audits and staff training where needed. PAC members were also given a chance to conduct a “mock audit” at West University Elementary’s cafeteria, dividing into groups and examining various aspects of its meal service.
In other school food news, tomorrow First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be announcing the long-awaited new school food nutritional standards promulgated as part of the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. I’ll have news about that development on The Lunch Tray.
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