Public Announcements

 

Bulletin on Partial Federal Government Shutdown

SNP Bulletin 0219 - Partial Federal Government Shutdown

January 22, 2019

 

The partial federal government shutdown has many of us going down paths that we never dreamed we would and for which there is no precedence set.  The most important thing for all of us to do today is to remain calm and to keep our focus on the children we serve.  As of today, here is what we know:

 

  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one of the federal agencies affected by the partial shutdown.  Other agencies affected include the Departments of Interior, Transportation, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency.  This means that agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Education are not affected and all of those programs/funds are continuing without interruption.
  • Since the USDA is one of the agencies on shutdown status, that means that additional funding cannot be provided to states until an appropriation bill passes both the House and Senate and is signed by the President.  As of today, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has received both first and second quarter funds for this fiscal year which began on October 1.  That means that we have received:
    • 100% of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant funds.
    • Administrative funding for the USDA household commodity programs—Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) through January.
    • Enough funding to cover reimbursements for the following programs through February:
      • Cash in Lieu (for the Child Adult and Care Food Program {CACFP}).
      • The “reimbursement block” which includes monthly reimbursements for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and CACFP.  This means MDE can reimburse for meals served through February.
    • Enough funds to keep our MDE staff going without interruption at least through May.  This means reviews, trainings, and all other MDE assistance will not change.
  • While there are no national office staff to process orders for additional commodities, we do know the following:
    • All orders placed prior to the shutdown will still be delivered.
    • The Web Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) is functional, therefore consortia should continue to place orders so that federal staff can process them ASAP after the shutdown ends.
    • The Department of Defense (DOD) changes cannot be made at this time but there is no reason not to draw on the current DOD allocation.
  • In addition, there are no national office staff to publish the rates for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) until staff return from furlough status.  Therefore, MDE will continue to make plans to run the SFSP based on previously published rates until new rates are published.

 

Many are asking what you all can/should be doing to plan for the potential that this shutdown goes into March or beyond.  Here is our best advice for you:

  • #1:  Don’t panic at this time.  Both the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) also have funding through February, but they will stop before our child nutrition programs will.  Therefore, at this time, we are really in a “wait and see” mode with what happens to WIC and SNAP.  Once we start seeing how those are handled, we will have a much better idea as to how the child nutrition programs will likely be handled.
  • Do not make drastic or unnecessary changes to your programs at this time.  There is no need to delete offer versus serve, cut staff, cut a la carte sales, or do anything else that could put your program in jeopardy for being out of compliance.  Truly, with the best interest of the kids at the front of your mind, your best chance at remaining in compliance (without adverse fiscal action later) is to not make drastic changes to your program until we know more about what the future of our programs look like.
    • While it is important to note that we do have state law stating districts shall provide lunch to all students and breakfast (in the case of being >20% free/reduced), there is no current precedent nor decision as to how our state government will handle this if we got to that point.  We are in constant communication, monitoring the situation daily, and the minute we believe we need to get a decision from our executive branch, MDE is prepared to seek it.  Once we know what will happen at the state government level, we promise to get another special bulletin out to all of you.  But like we said, as of today, there is not a need to worry about this part as there are just too many unknowns but please be assured our team is working on it.
    • One optional recommendation:  if you are a district that is working on a spend down plan, one option may be to build in some carry-over plans just as a safe guard.  We recognize not all districts are in this position, but for those of you that are, it is just a thought of one action that is reasonable given the unknown nature of the situation.

 

Please note the Q & A that went out in the most recent version of the School Nutrition News about what to do for children of furloughed federal employees.  Certainly, we want to help take care of these children.  You have various methods already at your disposal to handle children whose family has experienced an unforeseen loss of income mid-year.  Please continue to follow all the same procedures you would for any child whose family experiences this situation.

 

Your MDE team is here for you.  We will continue to communicate with you when we know something more.  Until that time, please help us all keep calm and serve the children.  Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

 

School Nutrition Programs

Office of Health and Nutrition Services

Michigan Department of Education

517-241-5374

www.michigan.gov/schoolnutrition

 

Our collective efforts can help make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years!  Here are the goals and strategies: http://mi.gov/top10in10/