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Administrative Review - Guidance

Administrative Review Final Rule: Transparency Requirement

Per 7 CFR 210.18(m) of the Administrative Review (AR) Final Rule, the state agency is required to post the results of each Administrative Review. Starting with school food authorities (SFAs) who received administrative reviews in school year 2016-2017, the Office of School Nutrition (OSN) will publish the Administrative Review Findings Report  on the CDE OSN State Agency Administrative Review Summary webpage. The OSN would also encourage each SFA to post their review results to their local school district webpage; at a minimum, the SFA must provide the results to the public upon request.

Resource Management

The Administrative Review includes a Resource Management section to assess the financial condition of the nonprofit food service account. To assist the CDE OSN, contact information for your district business official or the individual(s) with bookkeeping/financial responsibilities was collected for the Administrative Review. The food service director will be included in all communication with these district contacts, throughout the Resource Management portion of the Administrative Review.

Section III:  Meal Pattern and Nutritional Quality

Meal Patterns

  • There were a large number of findings (131 total) in meal pattern and nutrition quality in school year 2015-2016. This is a challenging program area and it is highly recommended that all SFAs attend one of the Fundamentals of Menu Planning regional trainings, especially if you are scheduled for an administrative review in school year 2016-2017.

Section V:  General Program Compliance

Civil Rights

  • As you are preparing for school year 2016-2017, don’t forget to take a look at your food service department civil rights complaint procedure. Having a food service department civil rights complaint procedure is a USDA requirement and failure to comply with this requirement has been a top finding in Administrative Reviews for the past two years. To ensure compliance, please refer to the Civil Rights webpage to find complaint procedure minimum requirements and a link to the complaint procedure template that you can complete with your district information.

School Breakfast Program (SBP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Outreach

As the school year winds down, don’t forget to promote the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)! SFAs are required to inform households about the availability and location of free meals for students during the summer. As a best practice, promote the program on your webpage, send home a flyer or send a robo call recorded by Governor Hickenlooper to families. On your promotional material, include how families can find sites near them; text FOOD to 877-877 or visit

On-Site Monitoring

School food authorities (SFAs) with more than one school must conduct at least one on-site review of all schools operating lunch and 50% of schools operating breakfast, with each school operating breakfast to be monitored at least once every two years. On-site monitoring reviews must be completed before February 1 of each year and must include a review of counting and claiming systems and of general areas of review that are easily observable, which could include, but is not limited to, the availability of free potable water, proper food safety practices and compliance with civil rights To be in compliance with the new requirement, CDE OSN has created a sample on-site review form that includes a review of counting and claiming systems and of general areas of review that are easily observable.  This template contains the minimum requirements for the on-site claim review. Additional information and the on-site prototype form can be found on the Administrative Review – General Program Compliance webpage.

Colorado Regulations

Colorado has state funding available to reimburse SFAs for some reduced price meals. The Start Smart Nutrition Program eliminates the $0.30-co-payment for reduced price breakfast paid by families for students in all grades. The Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Program eliminates the $ 0.40 co-payment for reduced price lunch paid by families for students in grades K-5. Failure to comply with these state funding programs has been a common finding in Administrative Reviews. Please ensure you are counting and claiming students eligible for reduced price meals correctly. Please visit the Meal Counting and Claiming webpage for more information on state funding for reduced price meals. 

Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act - Reauthorization

Review Cycle

  • The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act (i.e. reauthorization) proposes requiring administrative reviews once every five years, rather than once every three years. This act has not been passed. The CDE OSN will keep you updated on the status of reauthorization.

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