Federal legislation in 2004 and 2010 amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, which originated in 1946 to provide low-cost or free lunches to qualified students. With the amendments, state agencies are required to conduct additional reviews of local education agencies (LEAs) that administer the program, provide oversight and training of LEAs, and implement a more robust and unified system for accountability. As part of the 2010 legislation, via the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) established the Administrative Review—or AR—which mandated several changes to LEA reviews.
To assist state agencies in implementing the new AR requirements, FNS funded Administrative Review Training (ART) Grants to state agencies to focus on three main areas:
- Train and oversee LEA administrative personnel in school meal operations.
- Update state processes and systems to comply with the AR.
- Improve technology to address administrative error through targeted monitoring and increased training in error-prone LEAs.
This study described the short- and long-term effects of the ART Grants in 21 states, examined how grantees sustained their activities after funding ended, and identified challenges to implementation and sustainability. As part of this work, Insight in partnership with Abt Associates—
- Developed and tested interview protocols for state agencies and LEAs
- Conducted telephone interviews with 11 state agencies and 22 LEAs and synthesized findings