Summer School: What Administrators Need to Get Done in July

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You know what they say: while the kids are away, the administrators...should probably be doing paperwork. 

There are a few must-change policy deadlines coming up this summer, and we wanted to run through a brief reminder for each of them.

Wellness.  Deadline: June 30/July 1st, 2017.

The Nebraska Department of Education has released its state-specific rules in compliance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  All boards must fully comply with the requirements of the final rule by June 30, 2017.  Your wellness plan should be revised to include adherence to the new Smart Snacks guidelines.  These guidelines apply to all food sold during the school day, including food items sold as fundraisers and food items sold in vending machines.  There are also new regulations regarding marketing and advertising for food and beverages on school grounds. 

Additionally, the USDA has released a new requirement that all boards must have a Charged Meal Policy in place by July 1st, 2017.  This is focused on making sure families are aware what will happen in the event their meal account is negative.  Schools are permitted to allow students to charge meals to a negative account, provide a courtesy meal, or provide no food service.  They key component is notice to the families of what the school intends to do in this situation.

You can take a look at our previous post on wellness here.

Procurement.  Deadline: before the beginning of the 2017-18 school year

The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) apply to all federal grants that are made by the U.S. Department of Education to local school districts directly and to all funds that pass-through the Nebraska Department of Education to schools.  This means that EDGAR governs most school district’s special education, school breakfast and lunch, and Title I programs.  On December 26, 2014, the federal Office of Management and Budget issued significant changes to EDGAR.  The new EDGAR consists of multiple parts and regulations and have changed how schools have to account for funds that they receive from federal programs.  The initial EDGAR regulations had a two-year grace period which, when coupled with the timing of the issuance of the new regulations, means that the 2017-18 school year will be the first year that schools must fully comply with all the updated parts of EDGAR.  If any of you would like to review a complete description of the federal regulations that apply to federal education grant awards, you can visit the US Department of Education’s EDGAR website.  

Homeless Assistance.  Deadline: Before the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

Part of ESSA reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and requires certain changes to school districts’ Homeless Students policies for the 2017-2018 school year.  These changes focus on (1) removal of references to “children awaiting foster care” in the definition of “homeless” and (2) enhancing the stability provisions for covered youth.  These changes are consistent with other aspects of ESSA with which you might be familiar, such as the new requirements for transportation of foster care students which became effective on December 10, 2016.

NDE has a model policy on homeless assistance and several other resources related to homeless assistance here.

Each of these policy areas have been covered in our policy updates, so if you are an Update Only or a Complete Policy Service subscriber you should have received updated policies.  We know that other policy services have also sent out revised policies to meet these new criteria.  If you have any questions we recommend that you consult with your school district’s attorney or call Karen, Steve, Bobby, or Tim.