[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 23 (Tuesday, February 4, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 6488-6504]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02278]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 23 / Tuesday, February 4, 2014 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 6488]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food and Nutrition Service

[FNS-2011-0030]

7 CFR Parts 210 and 235

RIN 0584-AE19


Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition 
Programs Personnel as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 
2010

AGENCY: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This proposed rule would establish minimum professional 
standards for school nutrition personnel who manage and operate the 
National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The proposed rule 
would also institute hiring standards for the selection of State and 
local school nutrition program directors; and require all personnel in 
these programs to complete annual continuing education/training. These 
proposed changes respond to amendments made by section 306 of the 
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), which require USDA to 
establish professional standards for school nutrition personnel. The 
HHFKA also requires each State to provide at least annual training to 
local educational agency and school nutrition personnel. This proposed 
rule is expected to provide consistent, national standards for school 
nutrition professionals and staff. The principal benefit of this 
proposed rule is to ensure that key school nutrition personnel are 
meeting minimum professional standards in order to adequately perform 
the duties and responsibilities of their positions.

DATES: To be assured of consideration, written comments on this 
proposed rule must be received by the Food and Nutrition Service on or 
before April 7, 2014.

ADDRESSES: The Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, invites interested 
persons to submit written comments on this proposed rule. Comments must 
be submitted through one of the following methods:
     Preferred method: Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Comments should be addressed to Julie Brewer, Chief, 
Policy and Program Development Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food 
and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 66874, Saint 
Louis, MO, 63166.
    All comments submitted in response to this proposed rule will be 
included in the record and will be made available to the public. 
Duplicate comments are not considered. Therefore, we request that 
commenters submit comments through only one of the methods listed 
above. Please be advised that the substance of the comments and the 
identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be 
subject to public disclosure. FNS will make the comments publicly 
available on the Internet via http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Olson, Policy and Program 
Development Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition 
Service at (703) 305-2590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Section 306 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Public 
Law 111-296 (HHFKA) amended section 7 of the Child Nutrition Act of 
1966 (CNA) (42 U.S.C. 1776) by adding paragraph (g), ``Professional 
Standards for School Food Service.'' This rule proposes to amend 7 CFR 
part 210, the regulations governing the National School Lunch Program, 
and 7 CFR part 235, the regulations governing State Administrative 
Expense Funds, consistent with amendments made to the CNA by the HHFKA.
    Section 306 directs the Secretary to:
     Establish a program of mandatory education, training, and 
certification for all school nutrition directors responsible for the 
management of a school food authority. The program must include minimum 
educational and periodic training requirements necessary to 
successfully manage the school meals programs.
     Require that each local educational agency or school food 
authority ensure that local nutrition personnel complete annual 
training and receive annual certification (as specified by the 
Secretary) to demonstrate competence in the areas covered by the 
training, including ensuring individuals conducting or overseeing 
administrative procedures receive training at intervals defined by the 
Secretary.
     Establish criteria and standards for States to use in the 
selection of State agency directors with responsibility for the 
National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program 
(SBP).
     Require each State to provide at least annual training in 
administrative practices to local educational agency and school 
nutrition personnel.
    In developing this proposal, USDA considered input from a variety 
of sources. First, in November 2011, FNS conducted a session at the 
State Agency Meeting for State Child Nutrition Directors and their 
staff members. FNS explained the requirements of the HHFKA and 
solicited feedback from the audience. The participants brought up a 
number of general issues for USDA to consider, including grandfathering 
(the practice of exempting existing personnel from the new 
requirements), monitoring by State agencies, and how the new 
requirements would relate to existing State and local standards.
    On March 13-14, 2012, in an effort to obtain additional information 
from those who would be directly impacted by the HHFKA amendments, FNS 
held a two-day listening session attended by approximately 60 invited 
stakeholders, representing a variety of State agencies, local 
educational agencies (both large and small), professional associations 
and other constituencies concerned with child nutrition. Through small 
group activities, breakout sessions and full group discussions, 
stakeholders provided suggestions for USDA to consider when proposing 
standards for required and preferred professional standards. 
Participants also offered input on use of resources to successfully 
implement national standards, as well as how to overcome potential 
barriers/challenges in implementation.
    As follow-up to the March session, interested participants 
volunteered to continue to provide input via conference calls. 
Participants on the calls continued to include State and district 
directors, professional

[[Page 6489]]

organizations, and USDA staff. Calls focused on three topics: criteria 
and standards for hiring State agency directors; minimum education and 
training requirements for school nutrition directors; and training 
requirements for school nutrition managers and other staff. FNS 
conducted the conference calls in the five months following the 
listening session.
    FNS also offered sessions describing Section 306 of HHFKA at the 
School Nutrition Association's Annual National Conference in July 2012 
and July 2013, and received comments and feedback from attendees. The 
audience,--which consisted of State agency directors and staff, school 
nutrition directors, managers and other personnel,--provided 
significant input on proposed school nutrition program professional 
standards.

II. Overview of the Proposed Rule

    This rule proposes to establish the criteria and procedures for 
implementing the provisions in section 7(g) of the CNA (42 U.S.C. 1776 
(g)). The proposed rule would amend 7 CFR part 210 by redesignating 
Sec. Sec.  210.30 and 210.31 as Sec. Sec.  210.31 and 210.32, 
respectively. A new Sec.  210.30, School nutrition program professional 
standards, would be added, as would new definitions in Sec.  210.2. The 
proposed rule would also amend 7 CFR part 210 by revising Sec. Sec.  
210.15, 210.18, 210.20, and 210.32 (as redesignated). The proposed rule 
would amend 7 CFR part 235 by revising Sec. Sec.  235.4, 235.6, 235.11, 
and 235.12. No administrative reporting burden is associated with this 
proposed rule.

Use of Terms

    To ensure a consistent understanding of this rulemaking, the use of 
terms is discussed below.
    The HHFKA uses the term ``local educational agency'' when 
describing the local entity responsible for compliance with school 
nutrition program professional standards. The local educational agency, 
as the authority responsible for the administrative control of public 
or private nonprofit educational institutions within a defined area of 
the state, has responsibilities beyond school nutrition programs. 
Accordingly, for purposes of this proposed regulation, the requirements 
will refer to and apply to the school food authority (SFA), which is 
the governing body that has the legal authority to operate the school 
meal programs. The term ``local educational agency'' will be used to 
define requirements that vary by size of student enrollment.
    State directors of school nutrition programs include those 
individuals at the State agency level with responsibility for oversight 
of the NSLP and SBP. State directors of distributing agencies include 
those individuals at the State agency level with responsibility for the 
distribution of USDA Foods in schools under 7 CFR part 250. The 
Department recognizes that these roles may rest with one individual in 
some states.
    School nutrition program directors are those local individuals 
directly responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations of 
school nutrition programs for all participating schools under the 
jurisdiction of the school food authority. School nutrition program 
managers are those individuals directly responsible for the management 
of the day-to-day operations of school nutrition programs for a 
participating school(s). School nutrition program staff are those 
individuals without managerial responsibilities who are involved in 
routine operations of school nutrition programs for a participating 
school(s). This may include, for example, those individuals who prepare 
and serve meals, process transactions at the point of service, and 
review free/reduced price applications. These definitions as described 
above are applicable whether or not an SFA is operated by a food 
service management company. The proposed rule would define the terms 
school nutrition directors, managers and staff in proposed Sec.  210.2. 
If an individual possesses responsibilities for more than one of these 
positions, the higher level position requirements will apply. For 
instance, an individual fulfilling the roles of both director and 
manager would be required to meet the proposed requirements for school 
nutrition directors.

Minimum Standards

    The professional standards proposed in this rulemaking represent 
minimum standards that State agencies, school food authorities and 
local school nutrition personnel would be required to meet. For 
example, if the proposed minimum requirement is a bachelors degree in 
specific fields, a candidate with a master's degree or higher in those 
fields would meet and exceed the minimum proposed requirement. 
Therefore, the candidate would be eligible for hire. State agencies 
and/or school food authorities would have the discretion to establish 
their own professional standards should they wish to do so, as long as 
such standards are not inconsistent with the minimum standards 
established by FNS. For instance, a State may choose to consider 
additional factors, such as State certificates, as an aspect of the 
required professional standards criteria.

School Nutrition Program Professional Standards for School Nutrition 
Program Directors, School Nutrition Program Managers and Staff

School Nutrition Program Directors Hiring Standards

    Section 7(g)(1)(A) of the CNA, now requires the Secretary to 
establish a program of required education, training and certification 
for directors, including the minimum educational requirements necessary 
to successfully manage the NSLP and SBP.
    Proposed Sec.  210.30(b)(1) would require that beginning July 1, 
2015, all school nutrition program directors hired must meet minimum 
educational requirements. FNS has categorized the minimum educational 
requirements into four distinct local educational agency (LEA) sizes, 
based on student enrollment (LEAs with 2,499 students or less, between 
2,500 and 9,999 students, between 10,000 and 24,999 students, and LEAs 
with 25,000 or more students). This is in recognition of the fact that 
as LEA size increases, the level of responsibility and complexity of 
the food service system also increases and necessitates a higher 
minimum educational level. Some level of prior relevant school 
nutrition program experience is also proposed to be required in 
conjunction with the educational requirements for the two smaller LEA 
sizes.
    At all LEA sizes, if a new director has attained a bachelor's 
degree or higher (in an academic major or area of concentration as 
described further below), no prior experience would be required. This 
is in consideration of the possibility that some well-qualified 
directors may accept a director position shortly following college 
graduation. However, the proposed rule strongly encourages school food 
authorities to seek individuals with at least one year of management 
experience, preferably in school nutrition programs, at all LEA sizes.
    While the intent of this proposed regulation is to set a minimum 
level of expertise in key school nutrition program positions, we 
recognize that expectations must be reasonable and achievable, 
particularly in rural or small LEAs. This concern was expressed 
repeatedly by stakeholders who provided input at the public forums 
described earlier in this preamble.

[[Page 6490]]

Accordingly, this rule proposes several different pathways for a 
candidate to meet the educational requirement for all LEAs and seeks 
comments on these proposed approaches as well as appropriate 
alternatives.
    Additionally, current directors indicated that some directors may 
have responsibility for more than one small school food authority. One 
potential solution for ensuring that school food authorities with 
director position openings meet the proposed hiring standards is to 
select an individual that will oversee more than one school food 
authority. However, if a director is responsible for multiple school 
food authorities, he/she would be required to comply with the 
educational standards for the total enrollment of the LEAs he or she 
oversees (e.g., for three LEAs with 4,000 students each, for a total 
enrollment of 12,000, the school nutrition program director must meet 
the proposed educational criteria for the 10,000-24,999 student 
category). In this proposed rule, ``hire date'' is defined as the 
official date listed on hiring paperwork. It may or may not be 
equivalent to an employee's start date.

School Nutrition Program Directors With LEA Enrollment of 2,499 
Students or Fewer

    The proposed standards for this LEA size are based on information 
from the public forums, as well as by the most recent results from the 
fourth School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-IV), conducted 
during School Year 2011-12. According to this survey, 34 percent of 
current directors in LEAs of this size possess an associate's degree or 
higher. An additional 27 percent have completed some college without a 
degree; however 27 percent only possess a high school diploma. As noted 
above, this helped inform the decisions to both apply the educational 
standards to new directors only, as well as propose alternate pathways 
for hiring of directors in LEAs of this size. This is intended to 
assist LEAs of very small size in achieving compliance with the 
proposed standards.
    Under proposed Sec.  210.30(b)(1)(i), school nutrition program 
directors with an LEA enrollment of 2,499 students or fewer would be 
required to possess one of the following at the time of hiring:
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with an academic major or area of concentration in food and nutrition, 
food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, 
nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field;
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
in any academic major or area of concentration and a State-recognized 
certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, 
family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, or 
business (additional information on this educational attainment option 
will be further clarified in guidance);
     An associate's degree, or equivalent educational 
experience, with an academic major or area of concentration in food and 
nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer 
sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related 
field; and at least one year of relevant school nutrition program 
experience; or
     A high school diploma or equivalency (such as the general 
educational development diploma), and at least five years of relevant 
school nutrition program experience.
    For this LEA size, and particularly in rural areas, it is suggested 
and encouraged that if directors are hired without an associate's 
degree, that the school food authority and/or the State agency train 
these directors and encourage them to attain this degree within five 
years--even if the manager has five or more years of experience. This 
is intended to bolster the credential levels of school nutrition 
program directors and enhance their practical experience with training 
and formal academic instruction.

School Nutrition Program Directors With LEA Enrollment of 2,500 to 
9,999 Students

    According to SNDA-IV data on educational attainment for directors 
in LEAs with an enrollment of 2,500 to 9,999 students, nearly 70 
percent of current directors have an associate's, bachelor's or 
graduate degree, and another 22 percent have some college. Therefore, 
only 8 percent of current directors possess only a high school diploma.
    Proposed Sec.  210.30(b)(1)(ii) would require that new directors in 
this LEA size possess one of the following at the time of hiring:
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with an academic major or area of concentration in food and nutrition, 
food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, 
nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field;
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with any academic major or area of concentration, and a State-
recognized certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, 
dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary 
arts, or business (additional information on this educational 
attainment option will be further clarified in guidance);
     An associate's degree, or equivalent educational 
experience, with an academic major or area of concentration in food and 
nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer 
sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related 
field; and at least one year of relevant school nutrition program 
experience.
    School food authorities would be strongly encouraged to seek out 
individuals who possess a bachelor's degree or higher in the fields 
described above or individuals who are interested in pursuing a 
bachelor's degree post-hire, in addition to at least one year of 
relevant school nutrition program experience.

School Nutrition Program Directors With LEA Enrollment of 10,000 to 
24,999 Students

    According to SNDA-IV data on educational attainment for directors 
in LEAs with an enrollment of 10,000 to 24,999 students, nearly 85 
percent of current directors have a bachelor's or graduate degree.
    Due to the increasing demands of a position in a LEA of this size, 
yet in recognition of the diversity of backgrounds that provide 
sufficient expertise for the director position, proposed Sec.  
210.30(b)(1)(iii) would require that new directors possess one of the 
following at the time of hiring:
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with an academic major or area of concentration in food and nutrition, 
food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, 
nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; or
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with any academic major or area of concentration, and a State-
recognized certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, 
dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary 
arts, or business. Additional information on this educational 
attainment option will be further clarified in guidance.
    School food authorities would be strongly encouraged to seek out 
individuals who possess or are willing to work toward a master's degree 
with an academic major or area of concentration in fields noted 
previously. Additionally, at least one year of management experience, 
preferably in school nutrition, would be strongly recommended.

[[Page 6491]]

    In order to better ensure that directors at this level, regardless 
of which academic degree they have attained, are adequately educated in 
the key areas of food service management and nutrition, school food 
authorities would also be encouraged to seek individuals possessing at 
least three credit hours at the university level in food service 
management and at least three credit hours in nutritional sciences at 
the time of hire.

School Nutrition Program Directors With LEA Enrollment of 25,000 or 
More Students

    According to SNDA-IV data on educational attainment for directors 
in LEAs with an enrollment of 25,000 or more students, nearly 80 
percent of current directors possess either a bachelor's or graduate 
degree.
    USDA considered several combinations of academic degrees, 
credentialing and work experience for directors in LEAs with an 
enrollment of 25,000 or more students. Ultimately, USDA determined that 
for a director with the level of financial responsibility required for 
a LEA of this size, the director must have a strong educational 
background. Thus, the proposed rule at Sec.  210.30(b)(1)(iv) would 
require that new directors possess one of the following:
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with an academic major or area of concentration in food and nutrition, 
food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, 
nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field;
     A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with any academic major or area of concentration, and a State-
recognized certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, 
dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary 
arts, or business (additional information on this educational 
attainment option will be further clarified in guidance); or
     A master's degree, or willingness to work towards a 
master's degree (in an academic major or area of concentration as 
described above), would be strongly preferred. While no prior level of 
experience would be required, the proposed rule strongly encourages 
school food authorities to seek individuals with at least one year of 
management experience, preferably in school nutrition programs.
    As with the criteria for directors in LEAs with enrollments of 
10,000 to 24,999 students, school food authorities would also be 
encouraged to seek individuals possessing at least three credit hours 
at the university level in food service management and at least three 
credit hours in nutritional sciences.

School Nutrition Program Directors of All LEA Sizes

    Given the vulnerable population served by the school nutrition 
programs, USDA believes knowledge of food safety is essential to 
providing healthful and safe school meals. The proposed rule at Sec.  
210.30(b)(1)(v) would require all new directors, regardless of LEA 
size, to possess at least eight hours of food safety training within 
three years prior to their starting date or complete such training 
within 30 calendar days of the employee's starting date. A new director 
may satisfy this training requirement by providing documentation of 
training that was completed either during a past position or through a 
food safety course or certificate program. Since the requirements set 
forth in this proposed rule are minimum standards, acceptable time 
frames for prior training may vary dependent upon State and/or local 
health department rules and regulations. New hires must provide 
sufficient documentation of any prior training.
    The following chart summarizes the written requirements stated 
above for school nutrition program directors, broken down by each of 
the four LEA sizes:

  Summary of School Nutrition Program Director Proposed Professional Standards by Local Educational Agency Size
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Minimum requirements for      Student enrollment  Student enrollment  Student enrollment  Student enrollment
            directors                2,499 or less        2,500-9,999        10,000-24,999      25,000 or more
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum Education Standards       Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,  Same requirements
 (required) (new directors only).  or equivalent       or equivalent       or equivalent       as for 10,000-
                                   educational         educational         educational         24,999.
                                   experience, with    experience, with    experience, with
                                   academic major or   academic major or   academic major or
                                   concentration in    concentration in    concentration in
                                   food and            food and            food and
                                   nutrition, food     nutrition, food     nutrition, food
                                   service             service             service
                                   management,         management,         management,
                                   dietetics, family   dietetics, family   dietetics, family
                                   and consumer        and consumer        and consumer
                                   sciences,           sciences,           sciences,
                                   nutrition           nutrition           nutrition
                                   education,          education,          education,
                                   culinary arts,      culinary arts,      culinary arts,
                                   business, or a      business, or a      business, or a
                                   related field. OR.  related field; OR.  related field; OR.
                                  Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,
                                   or equivalent       or equivalent       or equivalent
                                   educational         educational         educational
                                   experience, with    experience, with    experience, with
                                   any academic        any academic        any academic
                                   major or area of    major or area of    major or area of
                                   concentration,      concentration,      concentration,
                                   and a State-        and a State-        and a State-
                                   recognized          recognized          recognized
                                   certificate in      certificate in      certificate in
                                   food and            food and            food and
                                   nutrition, food     nutrition, food     nutrition, food
                                   service             service             service
                                   management,         management,         management,
                                   dietetics, family   dietetics, family   dietetics, family
                                   and consumer        and consumer        and consumer
                                   sciences,           sciences,           sciences,
                                   nutrition           nutrition           nutrition
                                   education,          education,          education,
                                   culinary arts, or   culinary arts, or   culinary arts, or
                                   business; OR.       business; OR.       business.

[[Page 6492]]

 
                                  Associate's         Associate's
                                   degree, or          degree, or
                                   equivalent          equivalent
                                   educational         educational
                                   experience, with    experience, with
                                   academic major or   academic major or
                                   concentration in    concentration in
                                   food and            food and
                                   nutrition, food     nutrition, food
                                   service             service
                                   management,         management,
                                   dietetics, family   dietetics, family
                                   and consumer        and consumer
                                   sciences,           sciences,
                                   nutrition           nutrition
                                   education,          education,
                                   culinary arts,      culinary arts,
                                   business, or a      business, or a
                                   related field;      related field;
                                   and at least one    and at least one
                                   year of relevant    year of relevant
                                   school nutrition    school nutrition
                                   programs            programs
                                   experience; OR      experience.
                                  High school
                                   diploma (or GED)
                                   and 5 years of
                                   relevant
                                   experience in
                                   school nutrition
                                   programs.
Minimum Education Standards       Directors hired     Directors hired     Master's degree,    Master's degree,
 (preferred) (new directors        without an          without a           or willingness to   or willingness to
 only).                            associate's         bachelor's degree   work toward         work toward
                                   degree are          strongly            master's degree,    master's degree,
                                   strongly            encouraged to       preferred.          preferred.
                                   encouraged to       work toward
                                   work toward         attaining
                                   attaining           bachelor's degree
                                   associate's         upon hiring.
                                   degree upon
                                   hiring.
                                                                          At least one year   At least one year
                                                                           of management       of management
                                                                           experience,         experience,
                                                                           preferably in       preferably in
                                                                           school nutrition,   school nutrition,
                                                                           strongly            strongly
                                                                           recommended.        recommended.
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          At least 3 credit
                                                                           hours at the
                                                                           university level
                                                                           in food service
                                                                           management plus
                                                                           at least 3 credit
                                                                           hours in
                                                                           nutritional
                                                                           sciences at time
                                                                           of hiring
                                                                           strongly
                                                                           preferred.
                                                                          At least 3 credit
                                                                           hours at the
                                                                           university level
                                                                           in food service
                                                                           management plus
                                                                           at least 3 credit
                                                                           hours in
                                                                           nutritional
                                                                           sciences at time
                                                                           of hiring
                                                                           strongly
                                                                           preferred.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum Prior Training Standards   At least 8 hours of food safety training is required either 3 years prior to
 (required) (new directors only).   their starting date or completed within 30 days of employee's starting date.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

General Training/Education Requirements for Directors, Managers and 
Staff

    Section 7(g)(2) of the CNA, now requires the establishment of 
training and certification for school food service personnel. 
Stakeholders provided input on criteria for continuing education/
training, as well as related issues such as funding, ensuring access 
for all employees to training opportunities, and supervisor tracking 
and verifying that such training was completed by staff. Primary themes 
were the importance of providing multiple paths, methods, and 
technologies for meeting training requirements; the importance of 
validating the existing training programs for this purpose; and 
ensuring that cost, distance, and limited computer access do not 
present significant barriers to those needing training.
    Stakeholders also expressed concerns that FNS would be establishing 
a certification or credentialing system, which is a more structured 
program that typically requires a credentialing exam and leads to an 
official credential. FNS has no intention of creating any type of 
credentialing system. While currently in the early stages of planning 
and development, FNS intends to instead create a certificate program to 
acknowledge varying levels of training completed that will align with 
the minimum required annual continuing education/training requirements 
proposed in this regulation. This type of program would be more loosely 
structured, and instead would only consist of recognition for various 
levels of training. Some certificate levels would therefore be readily 
obtained by meeting the minimum annual training requirements for school 
nutrition

[[Page 6493]]

program staff, managers, and directors (e.g.. one level of recognition 
once 15 cumulative training hours have been completed, potentially over 
several years; and a second level of recognition after at least 30 
hours of cumulative training completed).
    Such a tiered approach would acknowledge those employees who meet 
annual minimum training as well as more formally recognize those 
employees who choose to increase their knowledge and expertise beyond 
what is required for their positions. This could provide an opportunity 
for school nutrition program staff, at all levels, to work toward and 
achieve increased professional competency without enrollment in a 
formal degree program.
    FNS recognizes that some States have already developed their own 
State certificate programs, as well. While a State certificate alone 
would not replace the planned FNS certificate program discussed above, 
annual continuing education/training hours obtained for the purposes of 
a State certificate would be allowed to count toward training required 
for the FNS certificate program.
    The FNS certificate program would consist of four core areas: 
Nutrition, operations, administration, and communications/marketing. 
These core areas would include specific topics as required by Section 
7(g)(1)(A) of the CNA. Additional training topics would be contingent 
upon position title and/or job function. For instance, those in a 
director position may need to receive additional training in: Menu 
planning; standard operating procedures for ordering; receiving and 
storage; purchasing procedures; compliance with accommodating children 
with special dietary needs; communications with State agencies and 
district authorities; the efficient and effective use of USDA foods; 
and emergency management. Similarly, individuals who work as cooks/
servers in a food service area may need to receive training 
specifically in receiving and storage, point of service cashiering, 
food production, and serving food. It is anticipated that all school 
nutrition programs staff positions that involve the handling of food 
would receive food safety training.
    Section 7(g)(1)(C) of the CNA, authorizes USDA to provide financial 
and other assistance to one or more professional food service 
management organizations to assist with the development and management 
of training and certification. FNS is currently exploring additional 
and ongoing collaboration with partners such as the National Food 
Service Management Institute (NFSMI) to offer nationwide training 
opportunities. It is FNS' intent that continuing education/training 
would be undertaken in a variety of formats, including both virtual/
web-based and in-person sessions. Further, such training shall include 
free or low-cost options for States and school food authorities.
    Training would also be accepted from a wide variety of other 
sources. Training provided by FNS, NFSMI, commercial vendors, academic 
institutions, professional associations, or provided in-house by the 
State or LEA are examples of some potentially acceptable sources. As 
noted above, training could be conducted both online (webinars, 
interactive online sessions, etc) and in-person (public speakers, in-
service trainings, attendance at a class or seminar). Additionally, 
training conducted by a director or manager for his/her staff would be 
creditable toward part of his/her own annual education/training 
requirement. The flexibility offered to directors at the local level to 
count training conducted toward their annual training requirement is in 
recognition of limited resources and time at the local level, as well 
as overlapping training needs for directors, managers and staff. 
Therefore, School Nutrition Program directors would gain knowledge and 
insight necessary for their positions as they prepare for and conduct 
trainings for staff.

Minimum Required Annual Continuing Education/Training for School 
Nutrition Program Directors

    Section 7(g)(1)(A) of the CNA requires training and certification 
for all school nutrition program directors. Stakeholders participating 
as noted above, universally agreed that it is critical for school 
nutrition program directors to continue to engage in education and 
training beyond their first year of employment, in order to be informed 
of the most current practices and regulations, enhance skills, and 
refresh an existing knowledge base.
    The proposed Sec.  210.30(b)(3) would require that each school year 
beginning with the first year of hire or July 1, 2015, whichever is 
later, each school nutrition program director complete at least 15 
hours of annual continuing education/training in topics including 
administrative practices (including training in application, 
certification, verification, meal counting, and meal claiming 
procedures) and any other topics determined by FNS. This required 
continuing education/training is in addition to the food safety 
training, required in the first year of employment only, described 
above.

Proposed Continuing Education/Training Standards for School Nutrition 
Program Managers

    Section 7(g)(2)(A) of the CNA, as amended, requires that each 
school food authority must ensure that an individual conducting or 
overseeing administrative procedures receives training annually, unless 
determined otherwise by the Secretary. School nutrition program 
managers include those individuals directly responsible for the 
management of the day-to-day operations of school food service for a 
participating school(s). This same definition is applicable whether or 
not an SFA is operated by a food service management company.
    Therefore, proposed Sec.  210.30(c) would require that each school 
year beginning with the first year of hire, each school nutrition 
program manager complete at least 12 hours of annual continuing 
education/training, or as otherwise specified by FNS. Continuing 
education would include topics such as: Administrative practices 
(including training in application, certification, verification, meal 
counting, and meal claiming procedures); the identification of 
reimbursable meals at the point of service, nutrition, health and 
safety standards; and other topics, as specified by FNS.

Proposed Continuing Education/Training Standards for School Nutrition 
Program Staff

    Section 7(g)(2)(B) of the CNA imposes requirements for local 
nutrition personnel to complete annual training/certification to 
demonstrate competence in the areas covered by the training.
    Proposed Sec.  210.30(d) would require that, for each school year, 
school nutrition program staff (other than the director and managers) 
who work an average of at least 20 hours per week, complete at least 
eight hours of continuing education/training applicable to their job. 
Continuing education would include topics such as: Free and reduced 
price eligibility; application, certification, and verification 
procedures; the identification of reimbursable meals at the point of 
service; nutrition, health and safety standards; and other topics, as 
specified by FNS.
    FNS recognizes that many school nutrition programs staff may work 
part-time. Staff that work an average of 20 hours or more per week are 
involved in food service area activities at a substantial enough level 
to require a minimum of 8 hours of annual education/training. However, 
we recognize that this much training may

[[Page 6494]]

be burdensome for staff working fewer than 20 hours, on average, per 
week. While we strongly encourage all staff, whether part-time or full 
time, to receive a minimum of 8 hours of annual continuing education/
training, the required training hours for staff working an average of 
less than 20 hours per week should be proportional to the number of 
hours worked. FNS seeks comments that specifically pertain to 
requirements for part time staff.

 Summary of Proposed Required Minimum Training/Education Standards, for
                              All LEA Sizes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
New and Current Directors..............  Each year, at least 15 hours of
                                          annual continuing education/
                                          training.
                                         Includes topics such as:
                                             administrative
                                             practices (including
                                             training in application,
                                             certification,
                                             verification, meal
                                             counting, and meal claiming
                                             procedures).
                                             any other
                                             appropriate topics as
                                             determined by FNS.
                                         This required continuing
                                          education/training is in
                                          addition to the food safety
                                          training required in the first
                                          year of employment.
New and Current Managers...............  Each year, at least 12 hours of
                                          annual continuing education/
                                          training.
                                         Includes topics such as:
                                          administrative
                                          practices (including training
                                          in application, certification,
                                          verification, meal counting,
                                          and meal claiming procedures).
                                             the identification
                                             of reimbursable meals at
                                             the point of service.
                                             nutrition, health
                                             and safety standards
                                             other topics, as
                                             specified by FNS
New and Current Staff (other than the    Each year, at least 8 hours of
 director and managers) that work an      annual continuing education/
 average of at least 20 hours per week.   training.
                                         Includes topics such as:
                                             free and reduced
                                             price eligibility.
                                             application,
                                             certification, and
                                             verification procedures.
                                             the identification
                                             of reimbursable meals at
                                             the point of service.
                                             nutrition, health
                                             and safety standards.
                                             other topics, as
                                             specified by FNS.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Use of School Nutrition Program Funds for Training Costs

    Providing training to school nutrition program staff is an 
allowable use of the nonprofit school food service account. Proposed 
Sec.  210.30(f) would require that any costs associated with training 
be reasonable, allocable, and necessary in accordance with the cost 
principles set forth in 2 CFR part 225, Cost Principles for State, 
Local, and Indian Tribal Governments (OMB Circular A-87). However, the 
proposed rule would specifically exclude as an allowable cost, any 
costs incurred by an individual to meet the educational criteria 
necessary to be hired as a new school nutrition program director, as 
proposed in Sec.  210.30(b)(1). For example, the school food authority 
cannot use nonprofit school food service account funds to pay the costs 
of an existing employee to take college-level classes.
    Proposed Sec.  210.30(f) would also exclude as an allowable cost 
any cost associated with obtaining college credits. This does not 
preclude obtaining training hours through a college or university; 
however, the earning of college credits is not considered a reasonable 
and necessary expense for these proposed professional standards and 
thus cannot be funded with nonprofit school food service account 
dollars.
    FNS, in cooperation with other organizations and entities, intends 
to provide education/training to meet the needs of most of the proposed 
training requirements. We are confident that State agencies and school 
food authorities will also be offering training opportunities; 
therefore, there will be a limited need to seek additional outside 
sources for education/training.

School Food Authority Oversight

    Proposed Sec.  210.30(g) would require each school food authority 
to maintain a recordkeeping system that annually documents compliance 
with the professional standard requirements for all school nutrition 
program employees. Documentation must be adequate to support to the 
State's satisfaction during administrative reviews, that employees are 
meeting the minimum professional standards. At a minimum, the school 
food authority would review employee education/training progress 
periodically throughout the year and certify employee compliance no 
later than the end of each school year. FNS encourages school food 
authorities to review and certify employee education/training on a more 
frequent basis. FNS expects to provide prototype tools that will assist 
school food authorities in maintaining this recordkeeping system.
    Current regulations at Sec.  210.15, Reporting and recordkeeping, 
summarize school food authority reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements. In order to participate in the NSLP and SBP, a school 
food authority must maintain records to demonstrate compliance with 
Program requirements. This proposed rule would add professional 
standards recordkeeping requirements to the recordkeeping summary set 
forth in paragraph (b) of this section.
    Program regulations at Sec.  210.18, Administrative review, 
requires State agencies to conduct administrative reviews of school 
food authorities once every three years. The administrative review 
covers critical and general areas of review. This proposed rule would 
amend Sec.  210.18(h) to add professional standards to the general 
areas scope of review. Specifically, the State agency would be required 
to ensure that the school food authority complies with the professional 
standards for school nutrition program directors, managers and 
personnel established in Sec.  210.30.

School Nutrition Program Professional Standards (State Directors)

    Section 7(g)(1)(b) of the CNA, now requires the Secretary to 
establish criteria and standards for States to use in the selection of 
State agency directors with responsibility for the NSLP and the SBP. 
Therefore, this proposed rule would amend 7 CFR part 235, State 
administrative expense funds.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(b)(2)(vi) would require that State agencies 
meet the professional standards and criteria described below under 
Hiring Standards for State Directors of School Nutrition. This proposed 
rule would establish criteria and standards for the hiring of 
individuals as State agency directors and would therefore apply only to 
those State agency directors hired after July 1, 2015. Incumbents would 
not be affected. However, annual continuing education/

[[Page 6495]]

training is proposed to apply to all current and new State directors of 
school nutrition, as well as State directors of distributing agencies.

Hiring Standards for State Directors of School Nutrition

    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(1) would require that beginning July 1, 
2015, all new State directors of school nutrition (commonly referred to 
as State Child Nutrition Directors) with responsibility for the 
administration of the NSLP and SBP must meet minimum hiring standards.
    Under proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(1)(i), new hires would be required 
to possess a bachelor's degree with an academic major in areas 
including food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, 
family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, 
business, or a related field.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(1)(ii) would require new directors to 
possess extensive relevant knowledge and experience in areas such as 
institutional food service operations, management, business, and/or 
nutrition education. FNS highly recommends that State directors of 
school nutrition programs have experience in three or more of these 
four areas. FNS anticipates offering additional guidance to assist 
hiring authorities in ensuring that candidates possess an adequate 
level of expertise in these areas.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(1)(iii) would require new directors to 
possess additional abilities and skills needed to lead, manage and 
supervise people to support the mission of school nutrition programs. 
More specifically, directors should be able to: work with team members 
to set, prioritize, and achieve objectives; guide the resolution of 
problems; make decisions analytically and strategically; speak and 
write clearly, concisely, and persuasively; communicate effectively 
with individuals and groups; analyze complex data and situations; 
interpret Federal and State regulations and establish policies and 
procedures to effectively implement them statewide; manage child 
nutrition administrative budget and plans; develop and make 
presentations; plan and organize work assignments for oneself and 
others including program compliance requirements; practice efficient 
self-management techniques; work effectively in a team environment and 
with all levels of employees in an organization; build positive 
internal and external working relationships; and use word processing, 
power point and similar software.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(1)(iv) identifies several criteria that 
are strongly preferred, but not required. This is in recognition of the 
fact that USDA is setting only minimum professional standards; however 
additional requirements are desirable and are suggested for 
consideration. For example, this proposed regulation recommends that 
new hires possess a master's degree with an academic major in the areas 
discussed above; at least five years of experience leading people in 
successfully accomplishing major multi-faceted projects related to 
child nutrition and/or institutional foodservice management; and 
professional certification (such as SNS, RD, etc.) in food and 
nutrition, food service management, school business management, or a 
related field as determined by FNS.

Hiring Standards for State Directors of Distributing Agencies

    USDA has discretion under section 7(g) of the CNA as amended, to 
apply professional standards requirements to State directors of 
distributing agencies responsible for overseeing State food 
distribution activities authorized under 7 CFR part 250. The 
application of such standards is intended to ensure that State 
directors maintain a minimum required skill level to effectively 
distribute and utilize USDA food products in school nutrition programs. 
Such skills are necessary in order to manage and integrate this 
significant portion of Child Nutrition assistance. Recent changes to 
the school meal nutrition standards require support and expertise from 
State directors to ensure that food provided to SFAs complements the 
more in-depth meal pattern requirements (e.g. whole grain-rich 
products, vegetable subgroups, etc.).
    Therefore, proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(2) would require that beginning 
July 1, 2015, all new State agency directors with responsibility for 
the distribution of USDA donated foods in 7 CFR part 250 must meet 
minimum hiring standards. This would apply to all new State directors 
of distributing agencies, regardless of whether or not the director 
also has responsibility for the State school nutrition programs.
    Under proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(2)(i), new State agency directors 
would be required to possess a bachelor's degree with an academic major 
in any area. Recognizing that the responsibilities of State directors 
of distributing agencies are more variable than those of directors 
responsible for school nutrition programs, specific academic majors are 
not required, therefore, education attained in a variety of fields is 
acceptable for this position.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(2)(ii) would require new directors to 
possess extensive relevant knowledge and experience in areas such as 
institutional food service operations, management, business, and/or 
nutrition education. However, unlike the standards for directors of 
school nutrition, FNS is not recommending that directors of 
distributing agencies have experience in a specific number of these 
areas.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(2)(iii) would require new directors to 
possess additional abilities and skills needed to lead, manage and 
supervise people to support the mission of school nutrition programs. 
More specifically, directors should be able to: work with team members 
to set, prioritize and achieve objectives; guide the resolution of 
problems; make decisions analytically and strategically; speak and 
write clearly, concisely and persuasively; communicate effectively with 
individuals and groups; analyze complex data and situations; interpret 
Federal and State regulations and establish policies and procedures to 
effectively implement them statewide; manage administrative budget and 
plans; develop and make presentations; plan and organize work 
assignments for oneself and others including program compliance 
requirements; practice efficient self-management techniques; work 
effectively in a team environment and with all levels of employees in 
an organization; build positive internal and external working 
relationships; and use word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation 
creations or similar software.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(2)(iv) identifies an additional criterion 
that is strongly preferred, but not required. This proposed regulation 
recommends that new hires possess at least five years of experience in 
institutional food service operations.

Minimum Annual Continuing Education/Training Standards

    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(3) would require that each school year, 
all State agency directors with responsibility for the NSLP and SBP, as 
well as those responsible for the distribution of USDA donated foods in 
schools under part 250 of this chapter, must complete a minimum of 15 
hours of continuing education/training in core areas appropriate to the 
areas of responsibility and may include: nutrition, operations, 
administration, and communications/marketing. Any additional hours and 
topics would be specified by FNS on an annual basis, as necessary.

[[Page 6496]]

    During discussions with existing directors of both school nutrition 
and distributing agencies, annual continuing education/training was 
universally supported.
    Similar to the required annual education/training for school 
nutrition program directors, managers and staff, training taken by 
State directors will also be accepted from a wide variety of other 
sources. Training provided by FNS, NFSMI, commercial vendors, academic 
institutions, or professional associations are examples of some 
acceptable sources. As noted above, training can be conducted online 
(webinars, interactive online sessions, etc.) and/or in-person (public 
speakers, in-services, attendance of a class or seminar). Additionally, 
training required under the proposed Child Nutrition integrity rule, 
which would require annual training hours in procurement, would also 
count toward the proposed annual requirement discussed here. However, 
training that is conducted by a State director may not be credited 
toward part of his/her own annual education/training requirement. This 
is to ensure that State directors are being trained in areas they may 
not yet already be proficient in, and to recognize that they have 
training needs that are unique from the needs of School Food Authority-
level staff. For instance, much of State director training would relate 
to requirements from USDA. The flexibility offered to directors at the 
local level to count training conducted toward their annual training 
requirement is in recognition of limited resources and time at the 
local level, as well as overlapping training needs for directors, 
managers and staff. Therefore, school nutrition program directors will 
gain knowledge and insight necessary for their positions as they 
prepare for and conduct trainings for staff.

Use of Funds for Training

    Proposed Sec.  235.6(a-1) would be amended to allow State agencies 
to utilize State administrative expense funds specifically for the 
purposes of their own State director annual continuing education/
training, but not to obtain college credits.

Provision of Annual Training

    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(4)(i) would require each State agency with 
responsibility for the NSLP and SBP to annually provide a minimum of 18 
hours of training to school food authorities (applicable to any or all 
staff) and local educational agencies, as applicable. Training topics 
would include, but not be limited to: administrative practices 
(including training in application, certification, verification, meal 
counting, and meal claiming procedures); the accuracy of approvals for 
free and reduced price meals; the identification of reimbursable meals 
at the point of service; nutrition; health and food safety standards; 
the efficient and effective use of USDA donated foods; and any other 
appropriate topics, as determined by FNS, to ensure program compliance 
and integrity.
    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(4)(ii) would require each State agency 
with responsibility for the distribution of USDA donated foods under 
part 250 of this chapter to provide or ensure receipt of continuing 
education/training to State distributing agency staff on an annual 
basis. Topics may include the efficient and effective use of USDA 
donated foods; inventory rotation and control; health and food safety 
standards; and any other appropriate topics, as determined by FNS, to 
ensure program compliance and integrity.
    Because State agencies already conduct training and attend 
trainings, there is no additional administrative burden associated with 
this proposed rule. FNS anticipates there being a high level of 
flexibility for States in meeting this proposed requirement. State-
provided training is an approved use of State administrative expense 
funds, and a variety of formats, including print, web-based, and in-
person, could be used. States are encouraged to collaborate with each 
other, or with their State distributing agencies, to share potential 
training resources and best practices. States may also use contractors 
or partner with other organizations such as the School Nutrition 
Association or the National Food Service Management Institute to 
develop and/or provide training to the school food authorities and 
State distributing agencies.

Records and Recordkeeping

    This proposed rule would also require each State agency to maintain 
a recordkeeping system that annually documents compliance with the 
professional standards requirements for all State Directors of school 
nutrition and State Directors of distributing agencies. Documentation 
must be adequate to support to FNS that directors are meeting the 
minimum professional standards. Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(5) would 
require that States annually maintain records to adequately demonstrate 
compliance with the professional standards for State directors of 
school nutrition programs established in Sec.  235.11(g). Proposed 
Sec.  210.20(b)(15) would add professional standards to the 
requirements for States for reporting and recordkeeping purposes.

Failure To Comply

    Proposed Sec.  235.11(g)(6) would require that the failure of State 
agencies to comply with the proposed standards for State directors, as 
discussed above, may result in recovery, withholding, or cancellation 
of payment of State administrative expense funds, as specified under 
existing Sec.  235.11(b). USDA will work with State agencies and school 
food authorities that do not fully meet the requirements and provide 
ongoing technical assistance and guidance in order to bring States into 
compliance. Actions resulting from failure to comply are anticipated to 
occur only in the most serious instances of noncompliance.

Oversight

    Each State will be responsible for ensuring that each school food 
authority is monitoring the credentials and requirements for all school 
nutrition program employees. States will also ensure that school food 
authorities are maintaining a recordkeeping system of such credentials. 
As mentioned, this proposed rule would amend existing Sec.  210.18, 
Administrative review, to require State agencies to assess compliance 
with professional standards under the administrative review's general 
area areas.
    Management evaluations of the State agency would include an FNS 
assessment of State agency compliance with professional standards. This 
assessment would include a review of whether the state directors of 
both school nutrition and distributing agencies are meeting the 
professional standards in this proposed regulation.

III. Procedural Matters

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and 
benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is 
necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits 
(including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety 
effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 
emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of 
reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant. 
Accordingly, the rule will not be reviewed by the Office of Management 
and Budget.

[[Page 6497]]

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    This rule has been determined to be not significant by the Office 
of Management and Budget; therefore a Regulatory Impact Analysis is not 
required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule has been reviewed with regard to the requirements of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) of 1980, (5 U.S.C. 601-612). Pursuant 
to that review, it has been certified that this rule will not have a 
significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
administrative and operational requirements of the Program are simple. 
Therefore, FNS does not expect that the proposed rule will have a 
significant economic impact on small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public 
Law 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the 
effects of their regulatory actions on State, local and tribal 
governments and the private sector. Under section 202 of the UMRA, the 
Department generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost 
benefit analysis, for proposed and final rules with ``Federal 
mandates'' that may result in expenditures by State, local or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector, of $100 million 
or more in any one year. When such a statement is needed for a rule, 
Section 205 of the UMRA generally requires the Department to identify 
and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt 
the most cost effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves 
the objectives of the rule.
    This proposed rule does not contain Federal mandates (under the 
regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) for State, local and 
tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any 
one year. Thus, the rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 
202 and 205 of the UMRA.

Executive Order 12372

    The NSLP and State Administrative Expense Funds are listed in the 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Programs under 10.555 and 
10.560, respectively. For the reasons set forth in the final rule in 7 
CFR part 3015, subpart V, and related Notice (48 FR 29115, June 24, 
1983), this program is included in the scope of Executive Order 12372 
which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local 
officials.

Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132 requires Federal agencies to consider the 
impact of their regulatory actions on State and local governments. 
Where such actions have federalism implications, agencies are directed 
to provide a statement for inclusion in the preamble to the regulations 
describing the agency's considerations in terms of the three categories 
called for under Section (6)(b)(2)(B) of Executive Order 13121.
Prior Consultation With State Officials
    FNS headquarters and regional offices have formal and informal 
discussions with State agency officials on an ongoing basis regarding 
the Child Nutrition Programs and policy issues. Prior to drafting this 
proposed rule and as noted above, FNS held several conference calls and 
meetings with the State agencies to discuss the statutory requirements 
addressed in this proposed rule. FNS also discussed the professional 
standards statutory requirements with program operators at their State 
conferences and received input which has been considered in drafting 
this proposed rule.
Nature of Concerns and the Need To Issue This Rule
    State agencies requested clarification on application of proposed 
standards to current State and local directors, flexibility of 
acceptable formats for obtaining training, implementation dates, and 
oversight. These are discussed in the preamble.
Extent to Which We Meet Those Concerns
    FNS has considered the impact of this proposed rule on State and 
local operators and has developed a rule that would implement the 
professional standards requirement in the most effective and least 
burdensome manner.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. This proposed rule is not intended to have 
preemptive effect with respect to any State or local laws, regulations 
or policies which conflict with its provisions or which would otherwise 
impede its full and timely implementation. This rule is not intended to 
have retroactive effect unless so specified in the Effective Dates 
section of the final rule. Prior to any judicial challenge to the 
provisions of the final rule, all applicable administrative procedures 
under Sec.  210.18(q) or Sec.  235.11(f) must be exhausted.

Executive Order 13175--Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments

    Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult and 
coordinate with tribes on a government-to-government basis on policies 
that have tribal implications, including regulations, legislative 
comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or 
actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian 
tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian 
tribes, or distribution of power and responsibilities between the 
Federal government and Indian tribes.
    FNS provides regularly scheduled quarterly consultation sessions as 
a venue for collaborative conversations with Tribal officials or their 
designees. The most recent quarterly consultation sessions were 
coordinated by FNS and held on November 2, 2011; February 29, 2012; May 
2, 2012; August 29, 2012; and February 13, 2013.
    There were no comments about this regulation received during any of 
the aforementioned Tribal Consultation sessions. Reports from these 
consultations are part of the USDA annual reporting on Tribal 
consultation and collaboration. FNS will respond in a timely and 
meaningful manner to Tribal government requests for consultation 
concerning this rule.

Civil Rights Impact Analysis

    FNS has reviewed this proposed rule in accordance with the 
Department Regulation 4300-4, ``Civil Rights Impact Analysis'', and 
1512-1, ``Regulatory Decision Making Requirements,'' to identify and 
address any major civil rights impacts the proposed rule might have on 
minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. After a careful 
review of the proposed rule's intent and provisions, FNS has determined 
that this proposed rule is not intended to limit or reduce in any way 
the ability of protected classes of individuals to receive benefits on 
the basis of their race, color, national origin, sex, age or 
disability, nor is it intended to have a differential impact on 
minority owned or operated business establishments, and women-owned or 
operated business establishments that participate in the Child 
Nutrition Programs. The proposed rule is technical in nature, and it 
affects only the State agencies and the local educational agencies 
operations.

 Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chap. 35; see 5 CFR 
part 1320), requires that the Office of

[[Page 6498]]

Management and Budget (OMB) approve all collections of information by a 
Federal agency from the public before they can be implemented. 
Respondents are not required to respond to any collection of 
information unless it displays a current, valid OMB control number. 
This is a new collection. The proposed provisions in this rule create 
new burden which will be merged into a currently approved information 
collection titled ``National School Lunch Program'' (NSLP), OMB Number 
0584-0006, which expires on February 29, 2016. These changes are 
contingent upon OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. 
When the information collection requirements have been approved, FNS 
will publish a separate action in the Federal Register announcing OMB's 
approval.
    Comments on the information collection in this proposed rule must 
be received by April 7, 2014. Send comments to the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for 
FNS, Washington, DC 20503. Please also send a copy of your comments to 
Lynn Rodgers-Kuperman, Chief, Program Analysis and Monitoring Branch, 
Child Nutrition Division, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302. 
For further information, or for copies of the information collection 
requirements, please contact Lynn Rodgers-Kuperman at the address 
indicated above. Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the Agency's functions, including whether the information will have 
practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the 
proposed information collection burden, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, 
utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to 
minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 
to respond, including use of appropriate automated, electronic, 
mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms 
of information technology.
    All responses to this request for comments will be summarized and 
included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become 
a matter of public record.
    Title: Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition 
Programs Personnel as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Acts of 
2010.
    OMB Number: 0584--NEW.
    Expiration Date: Not yet determined.
    Type of Request: New collection.
    Abstract: Section 306 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) 
(P.L. 111-296) amends section 7 of the Child Nutrition Act (CNA) (42 
U.S.C. 1776) by adding paragraph (g), ``Professional Standards for 
School Food Service.'' This rule proposes to amend the 7 CFR part 210, 
the regulations governing the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and 
7 CFR part 235, the regulations governing State Administrative Expense 
Funds, consistent with amendments made by the HHFKA.
    The NSLP is authorized under section 13 of the Richard B. Russell 
National School Lunch Act (NSLA) (42 U.S.C. 1761). This rule proposes 
to establish the criteria and procedures for implementing the 
provisions in section 7(g) of the CNA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1776). To 
effect these provisions, the proposed rule would amend 7 CFR part 210 
by redesignating Sec. Sec.  210.30 and 210.31 as Sec. Sec.  210.31 and 
210.32, respectively. A new Sec.  210.30, School nutrition program 
professional standards, would be added. The proposed rule would also 
amend 7 CFR part 210 by revising Sec. Sec.  210.2, 210.15, 210.18, 
210.20, and 210.31. The proposed rule would amend 7 CFR part 235 by 
revising Sec. Sec.  235.4, 235.11, and 235.12, and making other 
conforming changes. The professional standards proposed in this rule 
represent minimum standards that State agencies, school food 
authorities, and schools would be required to meet. State agencies and/
or local educational agencies would have the discretion to establish 
their own professional standards should they wish to do so, as long as 
such standards are not inconsistent with the minimum standards 
established by FNS through the rulemaking process. For instance, State 
may choose to consider additional factors such as State certificates as 
an aspect of their professional standards criteria.
    This proposed rule is intended to provide consistent, national 
standards for school nutrition professionals and staff. The principal 
benefit of this proposed rule is to ensure that key school nutrition 
personnel are meeting minimum professional standards in order to 
adequately perform the duties and responsibilities of their positions. 
This rule does not carry any reporting burden. Recordkeeping burden 
details are provided below.
    Affected Public: State Agencies, Local Educational Agencies and 
School Food Authorities, and Schools operating the NSLP.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 122,661.
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.
    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 122,717.
    Estimate Time per Response: 0.25.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden with proposed rule: 30,680.
    Current OMB Inventory for Part 210: 10,223,035.
    Total burden hours for Part 210 with proposed rule: 10,253,715.
    Difference (new burden requested with proposed rule): 30,680.
    Refer to the table below for estimated total annual burden.

[[Page 6499]]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Estimated                        Average         Average
              Affected public                          Section               number of      Records per       annual        burden per     Annual burden
                                                                           recordkeepers   recordkeeper       records         record           hours
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Reporting (There is no reporting burden.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Recordkeeping
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
State to annually maintain a recordkeeping  7 CFR 210.20(b)(15);                      56               2             112            0.25              28
 system that documents compliance with the   235.11(g)(3); 235.11(g)(4).
 professional standards for State
 directors of school nutrition programs
 and distributing agencies to include
 credentials and continuing education/
 training standards.
LEA and SFA to annually maintain a          7 CFR 210.15(b)(8);                   20,858               1          20,858             .25           5,215
 recordkeeping system that documents the     210.30(b)(2); 210.30(c);
 compliance with the professional            210.30(d).
 standards for all school nutrition
 program employees.
Schools to annually maintain a              7 CFR 210.15(b)(8);                  101,747               1         101,747             .25          25,437
 recordkeeping system that documents the     210.30(b)(2); 210.30(c);
 compliance with the professional            210.30(d).
 standards for all school nutrition
 program employees.
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Estimated Recordkeeping Burden..  ............................         122,661  ..............         122,717  ..............          30,680
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Total of Reporting and Recordkeeping
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporting.................................  ............................  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
Recordkeeping.............................  ............................         122,661  ..............         122,717             .25          30,680
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.................................  ............................         122,661  ..............         122,717             .25          30,680
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Food and Nutrition Service is committed to complying with the 
E-Government Act, 2002, to promote the use of the Internet and other 
information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen 
access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 210

    Children, Commodity School Program, Food assistance programs, Grant 
programs--health, Grant programs--education, School breakfast and lunch 
programs, Nutrition, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

7 CFR Part 235

    Administrative practice and procedure, Food assistance programs, 
Grant programs--health, Grant programs--education, School breakfast and 
lunch programs, Nutrition, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Accordingly, 7 CFR parts 210 and 235 are proposed to be amended as 
follows:

PART 210--NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

0
1. The authority citation for part 210 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1751-1760, 1779.

0
2. Amend Sec.  210.2 by adding the definitions of School nutrition 
program directors, School nutrition program managers, and School 
nutrition program staff to read as follows:


Sec.  210.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    School nutrition program directors are those individuals directly 
responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations of school 
food service for all participating schools under the jurisdiction of 
the school food authority.
    School nutrition program managers are those individuals directly 
responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations of school 
food service for a participating school(s).
    School nutrition program staff are those individuals, without 
managerial responsibilities, involved in day-to-day operations of 
school food service for a participating school(s).
* * * * *
0
3. Amend Sec.  210.15 as follows:
0
(a) In paragraph (b)(6), by removing the word ``and'' at the end;
0
(b) In paragraph (b)(7), by removing the period and adding ``; and'' in 
its place; and
0
(c) By adding paragraph (b)(8).
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  210.15  Recordkeeping summary.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (8) Records to demonstrate the school food authority's compliance 
with the professional standards for school nutrition program directors, 
managers and personnel established in Sec.  210.30.
0
4. Amend Sec.  210.18 by adding paragraph (h)(6) to read as follows:

[[Page 6500]]

Sec.  210.18  Administrative reviews.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (6) Professional standards. The State agency shall ensure the 
school food authority complies with the professional standards for 
school nutrition program directors, managers and personnel established 
in Sec.  210.30.
0
5. Amend Sec.  210.20 as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (b)(13), by removing the word ``and'' at the end;
0
b. In paragraph (b)(14), by removing the period and adding ``; and'' in 
its place; and
0
c. By adding paragraph (b)(15).
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  210.20  Reporting and Recordkeeping.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (15) Records to demonstrate compliance with the professional 
standards for State directors of school nutrition programs established 
in Sec.  235.11(g).


Sec. Sec.  210.30 and 210.31  [Redesignated as Sec. Sec.  210.31 and 
210.32].

0
6. Redesignate Sec. Sec.  210.30 and 210.31 as Sec. Sec.  210.31 and 
210.32, respectively, and add new Sec.  210.30 to read as follows:


Sec.  210.30  School nutrition program professional standards.

    (a) General. School food authorities must establish and implement 
professional standards for school nutrition program directors, managers 
and staff, as defined in Sec.  210.2.
    (b) Minimum standards for all school nutrition program directors. 
Each school food authority must ensure that all newly hired school 
nutrition program directors meet minimum hiring standards and ensure 
that all new and existing directors have completed the minimum annual 
training/education requirements for school nutrition program directors, 
as set forth below:
    (1) Hiring standards. All school nutrition program directors hired 
on or after July 1, 2015, must meet the following minimum educational 
requirements, as applicable:
    (i) School nutrition program directors with local educational 
agency enrollment of 2,499 students or fewer. Directors must meet the 
requirements in either paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A), (b)(1)(i)(B), 
(b)(1)(i)(C), or (b)(1)(i)(D) of this section.
    (A) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
an academic major or concentration in food and nutrition, food service 
management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition 
education, culinary arts, business, or a related field;
    (B) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
any academic major or area of concentration, and a State-recognized 
certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, 
family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, or 
business;
    (C) An associate's degree, or equivalent educational experience, 
with an academic major or area of concentration in food and nutrition, 
food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, 
nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field and at 
least one year of relevant school nutrition program experience; or
    (D) A high school diploma or equivalency (such as the general 
educational development diploma), and at least five years of relevant 
school nutrition program experience. Directors hired under such 
criteria are strongly encouraged to work toward attaining an 
associate's degree in an academic major in the fields listed in 
paragraph (b)(1)(i)(C) of this section upon hiring.
    (ii) School nutrition program directors with local educational 
agency enrollment of 2,500 to 9,999 students. Directors must meet the 
requirements in either paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A), (b)(1)(ii)(B), or 
(b)(1)(ii)(C) of this section.
    (A) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
an academic major or concentration in food and nutrition, food service 
management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition 
education, culinary arts, business, or a related field;
    (B) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
any academic major or area of concentration, and a State-recognized 
certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, 
family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, or 
business; or
    (C) An associate's degree, or equivalent educational experience 
(bachelor's degree preferred), with an academic major or area of 
concentration in food and nutrition, food service management, 
dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary 
arts, business, or a related field and at least one year of relevant 
school nutrition program experience. Directors hired with an 
associate's degree are strongly encouraged to work toward attaining a 
bachelor's degree in an academic major in the fields listed in this 
paragraph.
    (iii) School nutrition program directors with local educational 
agency enrollment of 10,000 to 24,999 students. Directors must meet the 
requirements in either paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(A), or (b)(1)(iii)(B) of 
this section.
    (A) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
an academic major or area of concentration in food and nutrition, food 
service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition 
education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; or
    (B) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
any academic major or area of concentration, and a State-recognized 
certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, 
family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, or 
business.
    (C) School food authorities are strongly encouraged to seek out 
individuals who possess a master's degree or are willing to work toward 
a master's degree in the fields listed in this paragraph. At least one 
year of management experience, preferably in school nutrition, is 
strongly recommended. It is also strongly recommended that directors 
have at least three credit hours at the university level in food 
service management and at least three credit hours in nutritional 
sciences at the time of hire.
    (iv) School nutrition program directors with local educational 
agency enrollment of 25,000 or more students. Directors must meet the 
requirements in either paragraph (b)(1)(iv)(A), or (b)(1)(iv)(B) of 
this section.
    (A) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
an academic major or area of concentration in food and nutrition, food 
service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition 
education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; or
    (B) A bachelor's degree, or equivalent educational experience, with 
any academic major or area of concentration, and a State-recognized 
certificate in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, 
family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, or 
business.
    (C) School food authorities are strongly encouraged to seek out 
individuals who possess a master's degree or are willing to work toward 
a master's degree, in the fields listed in this paragraph. At least one 
year of management experience, preferably in school nutrition, is 
strongly recommended. It is also strongly recommended that directors 
have at least three credit hours at the university level in food 
service management and at least three credit hours in nutritional 
sciences at the time of hire.
    (v) School nutrition program directors for all local educational 
agency sizes. All school nutrition program directors,

[[Page 6501]]

of all local educational agency sizes, must have completed at least 
eight hours of food safety training within three years prior to their 
starting date or complete eight hours of food safety training within 30 
days of the starting date.
    (2) Summary of school nutrition program director education/prior 
training standards. The following chart summarizes the written 
requirements stated above:

  Summary of School Nutrition Program Director Proposed Professional Standards by Local Educational Agency Size
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Minimum requirements for      Student enrollment  Student enrollment  Student enrollment  Student enrollment
            directors                2,499 or less        2,500-9,999        10,000-24,999      25,000 or more
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum Education Standards       Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,  Same requirements
 (required) (new directors only).  or equivalent       or equivalent       or equivalent       as for 10,000-
                                   educational         educational         educational         24,999.
                                   experience, with    experience, with    experience, with
                                   academic major or   academic major or   academic major or
                                   concentration in    concentration in    concentration in
                                   food and            food and            food and
                                   nutrition, food     nutrition, food     nutrition, food
                                   service             service             service
                                   management,         management,         management,
                                   dietetics, family   dietetics, family   dietetics, family
                                   and consumer        and consumer        and consumer
                                   sciences,           sciences,           sciences,
                                   nutrition           nutrition           nutrition
                                   education,          education,          education,
                                   culinary arts,      culinary arts,      culinary arts,
                                   business, or a      business, or a      business, or a
                                   related field. OR.  related field; OR.  related field; OR.
                                  Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,  Bachelor's degree,
                                   or equivalent       or equivalent       or equivalent
                                   educational         educational         educational
                                   experience, with    experience, with    experience, with
                                   any academic        any academic        any academic
                                   major or area of    major or area of    major or area of
                                   concentration,      concentration,      concentration,
                                   and a State-        and a State-        and a State-
                                   recognized          recognized          recognized
                                   certificate in      certificate in      certificate in
                                   food and            food and            food and
                                   nutrition, food     nutrition, food     nutrition, food
                                   service             service             service
                                   management,         management,         management,
                                   dietetics, family   dietetics, family   dietetics, family
                                   and consumer        and consumer        and consumer
                                   sciences,           sciences,           sciences,
                                   nutrition           nutrition           nutrition
                                   education,          education,          education,
                                   culinary arts, or   culinary arts, or   culinary arts, or
                                   business; OR.       business; OR.       business.
                                  Associate's         Associate's
                                   degree, or          degree, or
                                   equivalent          equivalent
                                   educational         educational
                                   experience, with    experience, with
                                   academic major or   academic major or
                                   concentration in    concentration in
                                   food and            food and
                                   nutrition, food     nutrition, food
                                   service             service
                                   management,         management,
                                   dietetics, family   dietetics, family
                                   and consumer        and consumer
                                   sciences,           sciences,
                                   nutrition           nutrition
                                   education,          education,
                                   culinary arts,      culinary arts,
                                   business, or a      business, or a
                                   related field;      related field;
                                   and at least one    and at least one
                                   year of relevant    year of relevant
                                   school nutrition    school nutrition
                                   programs            programs
                                   experience; OR.     experience.
                                  High school
                                   diploma (or GED)
                                   and 5 years of
                                   relevant
                                   experience in
                                   school nutrition
                                   programs.
Minimum Education Standards       Directors hired     Directors hired     Master's degree,    Master's degree,
 (preferred).                      without an          without a           or willingness to   or willingness to
(new directors only)............   associate's         bachelor's degree   work toward         work toward
                                   degree are          strongly            master's degree,    master's degree,
                                   strongly            encouraged to       preferred.          preferred
                                   encouraged to       work toward        At least one year   At least one year
                                   work toward         attaining           of management       of management
                                   attaining           bachelor's degree   experience,         experience,
                                   associate's         upon hiring.        preferably in       preferably in
                                   degree upon                             school nutrition,   school nutrition,
                                   hiring..                                strongly            strongly
                                                                           recommended.        recommended.
                                                                          At least 3 credit   At least 3 credit
                                                                           hours at the        hours at the
                                                                           university level    university level
                                                                           in food service     in food service
                                                                           management plus     management plus
                                                                           at least 3 credit   at least 3 credit
                                                                           hours in            hours in
                                                                           nutritional         nutritional
                                                                           sciences at time    sciences at time
                                                                           of hiring           of hiring
                                                                           strongly            strongly
                                                                           preferred.          preferred.
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 6502]]

 
Minimum Prior Training Standards   At least 8 hours of food safety training is required either 3 years prior to
(required)......................    their starting date or completed within 30 days of employee's starting date
(new directors only)............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) Minimum required annual continuing education/training. Each 
school year, beginning with the first year of hire or July 1, 2015, 
whichever is later, the school food authority must ensure that all 
school nutrition program directors have completed at least fifteen 
hours of annual continuing education/training in the following topics: 
Administrative practices (including training in application, 
certification, verification, meal counting, and meal claiming 
procedures) and any other topics, as determined by FNS. Continuing 
education/training required under this paragraph is in addition to the 
food safety training required in the first year of employment under 
paragraph (b)(1)(v) of this section.
    (c) Continuing education/training standards for all school 
nutrition program managers. Each school year, the school food authority 
must ensure that all school nutrition program managers have completed 
at least 12 hours of annual continuing education/training, or as 
otherwise specified by FNS. Continuing education/training will include 
the following topics:
    (1) Administrative practices (including training in application, 
certification, verification, meal counting, and meal claiming 
procedures);
    (2) The identification of reimbursable meals at the point of 
service;
    (3) Nutrition;
    (4) Health and safety standards; and
    (5) Any other appropriate topics, as determined by FNS.
    (d) Continuing education/training standards for all staff with 
responsibility for school nutrition programs. Each school year, the 
school food authority must ensure that all staff with responsibility 
for school nutrition programs that work an average of at least 20 hours 
per week, other than school nutrition program directors and managers, 
complete at least eight hours of annual continuing education/training 
in areas applicable to their job, or as otherwise specified by FNS. The 
required number of training hours for staff working an average of less 
than 20 hours per week must be proportional to the number of hours 
worked. Continuing education/training will include the following 
topics:
    (1) Free and reduced price eligibility;
    (2) Application, certification, and verification procedures;
    (3) The identification of reimbursable meals at the point of 
service;
    (4) Nutrition;
    (5) Health and safety standards; and
    (6) Any other appropriate topics, as determined by FNS.
    (e) Summary of required minimum continued education/training 
standards.

   Summary of Proposed Required Minimum Continuing Education/Training
            Standards, for All Local Educational Agency Sizes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
New and Current Directors..............  Each year, at least 15 hours of
                                          annual continuing education/
                                          training.
                                         Includes topics such as:
                                          Administrative
                                          practices (including training
                                          in application, certification,
                                          verification, meal counting,
                                          and meal claiming procedures).
                                          any other appropriate
                                          topics as determined by FNS.
                                         This required continuing
                                          education/training is in
                                          addition to the food safety
                                          training required in the first
                                          year of employment.
New and Current Managers...............  Each year, at least 12 hours of
                                          annual continuing education/
                                          training.
                                         Includes topics such as:
                                          Administrative
                                          practices (including training
                                          in application, certification,
                                          verification, meal counting,
                                          and meal claiming procedures).
                                          the identification of
                                          reimbursable meals at the
                                          point of service.
                                          nutrition, health and
                                          safety standards.
                                          other topics, as
                                          specified by FNS.
New and Current Staff (other than the    Each year, at least 8 hours of
 director and managers) that work an      annual continuing education/
 average of at least 20 hours per week.   training.
                                         Includes topics such as:
                                          Free and reduced price
                                          eligibility.
                                          application,
                                          certification, and
                                          verification procedures.
                                          the identification of
                                          reimbursable meals at the
                                          point of service.
                                          nutrition, health and
                                          safety standards.
                                          other topics, as
                                          specified by FNS.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (f) Use of food service funds for training costs. Costs associated 
with annual continuing education/training required under subsections 
(b)(3), (c) and (d) of this section must be reasonable, allocable and 
necessary in accordance with the cost principles set forth in 2 CFR 
part 225, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal 
Governments (OMB Circular A-87). Such costs may not include:
    (1) Costs associated with paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (iv) of this 
section.
    (2) Costs associated with obtaining college credits to meet the 
requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section.
    (g) School food authority oversight. Each school year, the school 
food authority shall document compliance with the requirements of this 
section for all staff with responsibility for school nutrition 
programs, including directors, managers, and staff. Documentation must 
be adequate to establish, to the

[[Page 6503]]

State's satisfaction during administrative reviews, that employees are 
meeting the minimum professional standards. The school food authority 
must certify that:
    (1) The school nutrition programs director meets the hiring 
standards and training requirements set forth in paragraph (b) of this 
section; and
    (2) Each employee has completed the applicable education/training 
required in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section no later than the 
end of each school year.
0
7. Revise Sec.  210.32 to read as follows:


Sec.  210.32  OMB control numbers.

    The following control numbers have been assigned to the information 
collection requirements in 7 CFR part 210 by the Office of Management 
and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, Public Law 
96-511.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             7 CFR section where requirements are described                       Current OMB control No.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
210.3(b)................................................................  0584-0067.
210.4(b)................................................................  0584-0002.
210.5(d)................................................................  0584-0006; 0584-0002; 0584-0067; 0584-
                                                                           0567 (to be merged with 0584-0006).
210.7...................................................................  0584-0567 (to be merged with 0584-
                                                                           0006).
210.8...................................................................  0584-0284; 0584-0006.
210.9...................................................................  0584-0006.
210.10..................................................................  0584-0006; 0584-0494.
210.11..................................................................  0584-0576 (to be merged with 0584-
                                                                           0006).
210.13..................................................................  0584-0006.
210.14..................................................................  0584-0006.
210.15..................................................................  0584-0006.
210.17..................................................................  0584-0075.
210.18..................................................................  0584-0006.
210.19..................................................................  0584-0006.
210.20..................................................................  0584-0006; 0584-0002; 0584-0067.
210.23..................................................................  0584-0006.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART 235--STATE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE FUNDS

0
8. The authority citation for part 235 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Secs. 7 and 10 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, 80 
Stat. 888, 889, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1776, 1779).

0
9. Amend Sec.  235.4 by revising paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  235.4  Allocation of funds to States.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) $30,000 to each State which administers the Food Distribution 
Program (part 250 of this chapter) in schools and/or institutions which 
participate in programs under parts 210, 220, 226 of this chapter; 
provided that the State meets the training requirements set forth in 
Sec.  235.11(g).
* * * * *
0
10. Amend Sec.  235.6 by adding a sentence at the end of paragraph (a-
1) to read as follows:


Sec.  235.6  Use of funds.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (a-1) * * * State agencies may also use these funds for the 
purposes of State director annual continuing education/training as 
described in Sec.  235.11(g)(3), however costs associated with 
obtaining college credits are not allowable.
* * * * *
0
11. Amend Sec.  235.11 as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (b)(2)(iv), by removing the word ``and'' at the end;
0
b. In paragraph (b)(2)(v), by removing the period and adding ``; and'' 
in its place;
0
c. By adding paragraph (b)(2)(vi); and
0
d. By adding paragraph (g).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  235.11  Other provisions.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (vi) Meeting the professional standards required in paragraph (g) 
of this section.
* * * * *
    (g) Professional standards. State agencies must meet the hiring and 
training standards established by FNS.
    (1) Hiring standards for State directors of school nutrition 
programs. Beginning July 1, 2015, the required minimum standards and 
criteria in the selection of newly hired State agency directors with 
responsibility for the National School Lunch Program under part 210 of 
this chapter and the School Breakfast Program under part 220 of this 
chapter must include:
    (i) Bachelor's degree with an academic major in areas including 
food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and 
consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a 
related field;
    (ii) Extensive relevant knowledge and experience in areas such as 
institutional food service operations, management, business, and/or 
nutrition education (experience in three or more of these areas highly 
recommended); and
    (iii) Additional abilities and skills needed to lead, manage and 
supervise people to support the mission of Child Nutrition programs.
    (iv) It is also strongly preferred that new hires possess:
    (A) Master's degree with an academic major in areas including food 
and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer 
sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related 
field;
    (B) At least five years of experience leading people in 
successfully accomplishing major multi-faceted projects related to 
child nutrition and/or institutional foodservice management; and
    (C) Professional certification in food and nutrition, food service 
management, school business management or a related field as determined 
by FNS.
    (2) Hiring standards for State directors of distributing agencies. 
Beginning July 1, 2015, the required minimum standards and criteria in 
the selection of newly hired State agency directors with responsibility 
for the distribution of USDA donated foods under part 250 of this 
chapter must include:
    (i) Bachelor's degree in any academic major;
    (ii) Extensive relevant knowledge and experience in areas such as 
institutional food service operations, management, business, and/or 
nutrition education; and
    (iii) Additional abilities and skills needed to lead, manage and 
supervise

[[Page 6504]]

people to support the mission of Child Nutrition programs.
    (iv) It is also strongly preferred that new hires possess at least 
five years of experience in institutional food service operations.
    (3) Minimum required annual continuing education/training standards 
for State directors of school nutrition programs and distributing 
agencies. Each school year, all State agency directors with 
responsibility for the National School Lunch Program under part 210 of 
this chapter and the School Breakfast Program under part 220 of this 
chapter, as well as those responsible for the distribution of USDA 
donated foods under part 250 of this chapter, must complete a minimum 
of 15 hours of training in core areas, that may include nutrition, 
operations, administration, communications and marketing. Additional 
hours and topics may be specified by FNS on an annual basis, as 
necessary.
    (4) Provision of annual training. At least annually, State agencies 
with responsibility for the National School Lunch Program under part 
210 of this chapter and the School Breakfast Program under part 220 of 
this chapter, as well as State agencies with responsibility for the 
distribution of USDA donated foods under part 250 of this chapter, must 
provide or ensure that staff receive annual continuing education/
training.
    (i) Each State agency with responsibility for the National School 
Lunch Program under part 210 of this chapter and the School Breakfast 
Program under part 220 of this chapter must provide a minimum of 18 
hours of continuing education/training to school food authorities. 
Topics include administrative practices (including training in 
application, certification, verification, meal counting, and meal 
claiming procedures); the accuracy of approvals for free and reduced 
price meals; the identification of reimbursable meals at the point of 
service; nutrition; health and food safety standards; the efficient and 
effective use of USDA donated foods; and any other appropriate topics, 
as determined by FNS, to ensure program compliance and integrity.
    (ii) Each State agency with responsibility for the distribution of 
USDA donated foods under part 250 of this chapter must provide or 
ensure receipt of continuing education/training to State distribution 
agency staff on an annual basis. Topics may include the efficient and 
effective use of USDA donated foods; inventory rotation and control; 
health and food safety standards; and any other appropriate topics, as 
determined by FNS, to ensure program compliance and integrity.
    (5) Records and Recordkeeping. State agencies must annually retain 
records to adequately demonstrate compliance with the professional 
standards for State directors of school nutrition programs established 
in Sec.  235.11(g).
    (6) Failure to comply. Failure to comply with the standards in this 
paragraph may result in sanctions as specified in paragraph (b) of this 
section.
0
12. Revise Sec.  235.12 to read as follows:


Sec.  235.12  Information collection/recordkeeping--OMB assigned 
control numbers.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
  7 CFR section where  requirements
            are described                   Current OMB Control No.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
235.3(b)............................  0584-0067
235.4...............................  0584-0067
235.5(b),(d)........................  0584-0067
235.7(a),(b)........................  0584-0067
235.9(c),(d)........................  0584-0067
235.11..............................  0584-0067
210.7...............................  0584-0067
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated: January 9, 2014.
Audrey Rowe,
Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-02278 Filed 2-3-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-30-P