Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition Programs Personnel

By  •  March 13, 2015 at 9:10 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published the final rule on Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition Programs Personnel as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The rule amends the federal regulations for School Nutrition Programs (SNPs) (7 Code of Federal Regulations 210), effective July 1, 2015.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will be providing additional guidance and training on the professional standards requirements and definitions of directors and managers in the near future.

View the final rule on Professional Standards.

The main sections of the final rule that affect local personnel are:

Minimum Professional Standards for Hiring New Directors

The final rule sets minimum standards for education and training for program directors that are “newly hired” as of July 1, 2015. The new hiring standards do not apply to current directors hired before July 1, 2015.

Minimum education standards for new hires will depend on the size of the local educational agency (LEA):

  • For the director at an LEA with 10,000 or more students, the minimum standard will be a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience in SNP management, or other combinations of degree and experience that are listed. A master’s degree is preferred.
  • For the director at an LEA with 2,500 – 9,999 students, the minimum standard will be an associate’s degree with major or concentration in specified areas and at least two years of relevant SNP experience, or other combinations of degree and experience that are listed. Directors hired without a bachelor’s degree are strongly encouraged to work toward attaining the bachelor’s degree.
  • For the director at an LEA with 2,499 or fewer students, the minimum standard will be a high school diploma and three years of relevant SNP experience, or other combinations of degree and experience that are listed. Directors hired without an associate’s degree will be strongly encouraged to work toward attaining an associate’s degree.

(Minimum hiring standards also are defined for state agency directors.)

All directors, regardless of LEA size, also will be required to have at least eight hours of food safety training.

Continuing Education/Training Standards for Local Personnel

The final rule sets a minimum number of hours of annual continuing education or training for directors, managers and staff. These annual education/training requirements apply to all directors, managers and staff, regardless of when they were hired.

For the school year starting July 1, 2015, minimum training hours are:

  • Directors – at least eight hours.
  • Managers – at least six hours.
  • Other staff – at least four hours.

The minimum number of training hours will increase in school year 2016-17 to:

  • Directors – at least 12 hours.
  • Managers – at least 10 hours.
  • Other staff – at least six hours.

(Continuing education/training standards also are defined for state agency directors.)

Training topics are listed.

Costs associated with required annual continuing education/training are allowable SNP costs provided they are reasonable, allocable and necessary. However, food service funds must not be used to pay for the cost of college credits to meet the hiring requirements.

The director must maintain required documentation and certify each year that (1) the director meets the hiring standards and (2) all employees have completed applicable training requirements.

If you have any questions about this information, contact MDE-Safety, Health and Nutrition at 651-582-8526, 1-800-366-8922 (MN Toll-free) or mde.fns@state.mn.us.