School Nutrition Programs

Important Dates and Tasks

School Nutrition Programs

Dates and Tasks:

March – April

Update the annual Program Application for sponsor and site(s) online in the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS). Sponsors receive an e-mail notification via the School Nutrition Program (SNP) listserv* when the next year’s application is available.

July and throughout the school year

Check Direct Certification information in CLiCS and send the eligibility notification letter to households. Direct certification downloads are available monthly. Sponsors receive an e-mail notification via the SNP listserv* when downloads are available. Accuracy of direct certification matching is improved with more frequent communication of Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) data to the Minnesota Department of Education.

July – August – September

Distribute Applications for Educational Benefits to all households (except those with students who have been directly certified for free meals) after July 1 within four weeks of the start of school. Determine student meal eligibility within 10 school days after date of receipt and notify household of student eligibility. Year-round schools that operate in July may distribute applications in June.

Prior to the start of the school year and ongoing

Develop rosters to identify which children are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Include the student’s name, date of application approval, dates of changes in free/reduced-price meal benefits and dates of withdrawal/transfer. If using a computerized system, rosters may be maintained in the system. If using a manual system, create rosters. Update rosters as changes occur and print or save a copy on a monthly basis to keep on file with the documentation that supports the monthly claim for reimbursement.

Ensure there is a system in place to track reimbursable student meals served daily by free, reduced-price or paid category. When changes in eligibility occur, ensure that both the rosters and the meal counting system are updated.

First 30 school days

Carry over student free/reduced-price eligibility from the previous year. Once a current year application or direct certification information is received, update student eligibility, effective immediately.

If participating in the Afterschool Snack Program, complete the first required On-Site Review. The first review must occur during the first four weeks of snack operations in the year.

31st school day

Change student eligibility status to paid if an eligible application or direct certification has not been received by this date.

October 1 – November 15

Complete the verification process. Count the current-year approved Applications for Educational Benefits that are on file on October 1 (do not include applications from homeless, runaway, migrant or directly certified students). Calculate how many applications must be verified and select those from the approved current-year applications. Send notices to households, verify the documentation that is sent by households, send result letters to households and complete the Verification Summary Report in CLiCS by December 1.

February 1

Ensure On-Site Reviews are completed by this date for each feeding site in the district.

Note: On-Site reviews are required only if the district has two or more feeding sites.


If planning a new Catering Contract or Food Service Management Company Contract, begin the procurement process. If the contract will be over $100,000 for public schools and $150,000 for nonpublic schools, use the formal competitive procedures.

Ongoing – daily

Complete food production records daily to document the measurable quantity of food items served at each meal/snack. Ensure written standardized recipes are available for all foods served that contain two or more ingredients.

Ensure Child Nutrition (CN) Labels and Product Formulation Statements are available for all combination convenience foods (for example, pizza, burritos, corn dogs, etc.) and processed meat/poultry products (for example sausages, salami, fish sticks, chicken nuggets/patties, etc.).

Complete temperature monitoring logs/documentation for the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)/Food Safety Plan (need updated link).

Record daily meal counts by category (free, reduced-price or free) at the point-of-service.

Ongoing – monthly

Complete claims edit to ensure daily claim numbers are accurate. This can be done daily or monthly.

Submit the monthly claim for reimbursement as soon as possible, but no later than 60 days after the end of the claim month. Refer to the claim for reimbursement due dates available on the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) website.

Ongoing – annually

Conduct Civil Rights training early in the year with “frontline” staff who interact with program applicants or participants and those who supervise “frontline” staff. A PowerPoint presentation is available on the FNS-Civil Rights webpage. Document the date of training, names of those attending and location.

Renew or obtain a Food and Beverage License (FBL). A FBL is required annually for every person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of conducting a food and beverage service establishment. If the area in which you prepare and/or serve meals is not licensed, check with the Minnesota Department of Health or your local sanitarian to determine if a license is required.

The Minnesota Department of Health requires a Minnesota certified food manager in most food establishments. If you do not employ someone who is a certified food manager, contact the Minnesota Department of Health to determine if this is required for your sponsorship.

Two health inspections are required each year for sponsors of SNPs. If the inspections are not being completed by your local sanitarian, request in writing that a sanitarian conduct the two inspections.

If participating in the After School Care Program, ensure the second required On-Site Review is conducted during the year.

Ensure a Local Wellness Policy is established that contains a plan for measuring implementation of the policy, including the designation of one or more persons with operational responsibility for ensuring that the school is meeting the policy.

Maintain all records related to SNP for three years plus the current year.

For more information, view the SNP section of the FNS website.

Questions? Contact FNS at 651-582-8526, 800-366-8922 or e-mail

Various workshops are also offered to meet the educational needs of you and your staff. Contact FNS or view the SNP training webpage to learn more.

Food Distribution Program

If you are currently not participating in the Food Distribution Program, please review the Food Distribution Program How to Participate section of the FNS website.

Dates and Tasks:


Actual Entitlement - Entitlement reconciliation is completed prior to Fall Preference Surveys opening. Actual entitlement for the current school year is the result of reconciling the previous year’s total meals served.


Fall Preference Surveys - Respond to USDA Foods Preference Surveys for the current school year. Food service staff listed on the USDA Foods and SNP listserv* will receive e-mails announcing available surveys.


Fall Preference Surveys close.

November – December

Survey planning for the upcoming school year - What will be surveyed for in the spring.


Estimated Entitlement - Entitlement is estimated based on the previous full year of meals served for the upcoming school year.


Begin the distributor selection process for the upcoming school year. The “Request for Proposal” is located on the Food Distribution Program “How to Participate” section of the FNS website.

March – April

Spring Surveys - Respond to Spring USDA Foods Preference Surveys for the upcoming school year. Food service staff listed on the USDA Foods and SNP listserv* will receive e-mails when surveys are available.


Spring Preference Surveys close.


USDA Foods Received Report for the Auditor – This report is available online. Sponsors can view the instructions to download the report from the Food Distribution Web page under Regular USDA Foods.

May 15 deadline

Distributor Selection – Last day to enter distributor selection in CLiCS 1 Customer Profile screen for the upcoming school year.

August 1 deadline

Submission of Minnesota Rebate claims – Last day to submit rebate claims in CLiCS 1 for the previous school year.

Ongoing sponsor responsibilities

Track Regular USDA Foods via the CLiCS 1 Customer Order Summ(ary) screen.

Reconcile and release Minnesota rebate claims via the CLiCS 1 Rebate and Payments screen.

Review Rebates – CLiCS 1 Rebate Summary tab and Rebate Payments tab.

Communicate with distributor to regarding deliveries and rebate claims throughout the school year.

Contact the Food Distribution Program team at or call FNS at 651-582-8526 or 800-366-8922.

*To subscribe to the listserv, complete the listserv subscribe/unsubscribe form found on the FNS website.