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PHOTO BY CIERA HUGHES The Russellville Child Nutrition Program stands with RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes after receiving positive comments from an extensive review in August. Nine state auditors visited RCS upon its changing to Provision 2 to ensure all children were being claimed for the correct reimbursement.

RCS CNP receives positive comments from state audit

Russellville’s Child Nutrition Program works hard to ensure high-quality service to students. This hard work was recognized recently, as the CNP received high praises after an extensive review from state auditors.

Auditors reviewed Russellville City Schools’ CNP program transitioned from the Community Eligibility Program of years past to Provision 2.

RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said RCS and Franklin County Schools were the first systems to change from CEP to Provision 2 in the country.

The CEP is a meal service option for schools in low-income areas where students are able to receive free breakfast and lunch without collecting household applications. After RCS no longer qualified for CEP, Provision 2 proved to be the best option.

Provision 2 will allow students the same benefits of CEP by collecting household applications so the school can be reimbursed based on claiming percentages.

“CNP has so many state and federal guidelines to adhere to, and we work really hard to see that we meet these guidelines,” said RCS CNP Director Elaine Vaughn. “However, it does help to get the one-on-one feedback from the state CNP auditors.

“We feel that the state CNP staff is there to help us, and we rely on their knowledge to help us maintain the program.”

Vaughn said there are so many unknowns each time a system starts a new program, so having a successful audit was vhelpful to ensure she and her staff are doing things the correct way.

Prior to the visit, copies of breakfast and lunch menus for all grades, production records, menu worksheets meeting the USDA guidelines and CNP Policies and Procedures, along with Local Wellness Policy and Procurement Procedures, were sent for review before the auditors’ on-site visit.

Once at the schools, the auditors observed all aspects of the Child Nutrition Program, from food preparation to receiving groceries, students going through the serving lines, items served during meals and during break times, after-school snack programs and the implementation of all policies and procedures.

“It really was amazing to come through an audit of that intensity, and they really couldn’t find anything but positive things to say,” Grimes said.

The family of each child in RCS’ system had to fill out an application, which had to be keyed in to ensure the school was claiming each child with the correct reimbursement. At this time, RCS had more than 1,000 applications.

Nine auditors visited RCS from Aug. 21-24 and chose Russellville High School for the extensive review. Grimes said auditors were very impressed by student involvement and the quality of service provided to students.

Grimes said the only thing auditors pointed out was RCS claiming SPAN students under Provision 2. This meant RCS had to move $433 to a different column in the budget.

“It was money we had that was going toward this, but it was just was supposed to be in a different area,” Grimes said. “And that is amazing to me – that they spent four days with us with a fine-tooth comb, and that is all they could find. We are so proud of our CNP staff and the work they do.”