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Food and Nutrition Services

For purposes of this procedural directive, “competitive food” means a food or beverage sold at school other than one served as part of the United States Department of Agriculture school meal program.  The term includes any item sold in vending machines, a la carte or through other school fundraising efforts.  

Food and Nutrition Services Office shall be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Plan menus to meet nutritional requirements of students.
  • Coordinate purchasing of all food services supplies and equipment.
  • Staff all cafeterias based on the following criteria:
    1. size of kitchen
    2. average daily participation
    3. kitchen layout
    4. type and number of feeding programs
  • Organize and conduct appropriate professional development training for food service personnel and implement measures designed to improve the quality and efficiency of the program.
  • Receive and coordinate reports from individual units as such reports are necessary or required by state or federal agencies.
  • Consult with Facilities Design and Construction in relation to the construction of new food service facilities.
  • The director shall notify the chief operations officer of any breaches of policy and procedure and shall furnish the principal of the school site involved with a copy.

School Cafeteria Managers shall be responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Operate under the direction of the Food and Nutrition Services executive director or his/her designee.
  2. Be knowledgeable of New Mexico state statute and regulations and Albuquerque Public Schools policy and procedure for operation of cafeterias and manage the unit consistent with these policies, regulations and procedures.
  3. Organize and manage unit employees in preparation and service of food and in proper care of the equipment.
  4. Prepare reports and collect and deposit receipts from sales.
  5. Refer any problems pertaining to cafeteria operation to the site director of Food and Nutrition Services or his/her designee (area manager).

Principals shall be responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Maintain discipline in the dining rooms with the aide of school personnel.
  2. Refer any problems pertaining to cafeteria operation to the director of  Food and Nutrition Services  or his/her designee.
  3. Direct the school custodian about cleanliness standards of the dining area and enforce those standards.
  4. Inform all staff that they shall give any application for free or reduced meals to the school cafeteria manager immediately upon receipt.
  5. Make a third attempt to collect unpaid meal charges, when Food and Nutrition Services has not been successful in collecting charges from previous attempts.

General Kitchen Control 

  • No persons other than Food and Nutrition Services personnel shall be permitted in the kitchens.
  • Only the principal, food service manager, head custodian, and Food and Nutrition Services  shall have a key to open any door entering the kitchen. Only the school’s cafeteria manager and Food and Nutrition Services  shall have a key to the storeroom door, freezers, and refrigerators.
  • No food items of any nature shall be drawn from the cafeteria kitchen. Any after hour’s use of the kitchen will require a Food and Nutrition Service employee to be paid at time and a half to supervise the function.  

Meal Ticket Sales

The following procedure conforms to the United States Department of Agriculture and New Mexico state regulations governing cafeteria operation

  • All students, regardless of meal status, will have an account set up with Food and Nutrition Services based on their student identification number
  • Parents/legal guardians shall be responsible for the purchase of meals until meal applications are received and processed by the Food and Nutrition Services Office.  Food and Nutrition Services shall have ten (10) business days to process applications from the time they are received by district staff
  • The sale of full-pay and reduced rate meals may take place at any non-meal service time during normal cafeteria hours.  Parents/legal guardians shall be notified of pre-payment options and charging procedures at the beginning of each year through a memo released to the media and sent to individual schools for distribution
  • APS food and nutrition sites are cashless. Families set up online account payment. School sites can accept cash on a limited basis, but any change will be applied to the student’s account
  • Pre-payments shall be valid for reimbursement. A la carte items may be paid for with prepaid accounts unless the parent/legal guardian requests otherwise
  • Albuquerque Public Schools shall allow charges up to $15.00 at the elementary,    middle school, and high school level per student, for reimbursable meals.  Once the student has reached the charge limit, and regardless of the student’s inability to pay, they shall be provided with a reimbursable meal that is available at the school on the day of meal service. Meals will be charged to the student’s account.
  • Students may not incur negative charges for a la carte items.
  • After the reimbursable meals that exceeds the $15.00 limit the school shall:
    • Check the state’s direct certification list to determine if the student is categorically eligible for free school meals
    • Make at least two attempts to reach the student’s parent or guardian to have the parent or guardian complete a school meal’s application. (Note: including the school meal application or instructions in the school enrollment application does not constitute a parent or guardian contact)
    • Require a principal  to contact the parent or guardian to offer assistance with a meal application
  • Those responsible for meal ticket sales shall refer to the agreement with the Public Education Department for approved method of collection as conditions change. Charging of second meals, a-la-carte or extra items shall not be allowed under any circumstances. Only United States Department of Agriculture reimbursable meals shall be charged.  Adult meals shall not be charged.  Meals to adults shall only be provided at no charge to those who are directly involved in the operation of the school nutrition program.  All other adult meals shall be either prepaid for or paid for in full at the time of service
  • Twice a year - November 30 and May 31 - all debts that exceed the allotted charges, shall be sent a letter that legal action may occur if debt is not paid within thirty (30) days.  After the thirty (30) days legal action to collect debt may occur
  • Returned checks and insufficient funds shall be referred to a third party company for payment. 
  • When a student graduates with credit, their parent/legal guardian may decide to transfer those credits toward an account of their choice to pay unpaid debt of other students, or request a refund.

Competitive Food Sales

Principals may permit the sale of food items during the day. All foods sold must meet the Albuquerque Public Schools, New Mexico and federal wellness policies.  Non-food and nutrition service competitive food sales shall not be allowed within the environs of the cafeteria, which means the sale of such food must be conducted in a building other than the one housing the cafeteria.  All competitive food sales shall follow federal and state regulations.

Administrative Position:          Chief Operations Officer

Department Director:            Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services


Policy Cross Ref.:                     

  • USDA Policy for Free and Reduced Meal Applications
  • §22-13C-8 NMSA
  • §22-13-13 NMSA 1978
  • §22-9-1 NMSA 1978
  • §22-9-2 NMSA 1978
  • §22-9-5 NMSA 1978
  • 6.12.5 NMAC

Board Policy Cross Ref.:          

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:    

NSBA/NEPN Classification:          EF, EFD, EFE, EFF, EFDA

Revised:  May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Revised: May 22, 2000
Revised: October, 2008
Revised: February 2010

Reviewed: July 8, 2015
Revised: August 7, 2015
Reviewed: September 13, 2017
Revised: October 13, 2017
Reviewed:  September 6, 2022
Revised:  September 9, 2022