What is the Special Milk Program?
The Special Milk Program is a federally funded program which assists schools and other agencies in providing milk to children at reasonable prices. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for overseeing the program nationally. In Wyoming, the Program is administered by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE).
What are the benefits of participating in the Program?
For children, the Special Milk Program provides a nutritious beverage, rich in calcium and vitamins A and D, which aids in the development of strong bones and teeth. For parents, the Program provides a low cost, convenient method of ensuring that their children receive a healthy and delicious beverage when they are away from home. Schools benefit by helping their students take at least one step in a direction that can enhance academic performance: good nutrition.
What type of milk is offered?
Pasteurized, fluid types of flavored or unflavored milk that meet state and local standards must be offered. All milk should contain vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration. This includes whole milk, low-fat milk, skim milk, cultured buttermilk and chocolate milk.
What is involved in operating a Special Milk Program?
The Special Milk Program must be open to all enrolled children. Two different methods may be used when charging for milk:
- The price charged for milk may be included in the tuition or camping fee so that all children automatically receive milk. This is called a non-pricing program.
- There can be a separate charge for milk, so that the purchase of milk is optional. This is called a pricing program. If there is a pricing program, the agency may choose to provide milk at no charge to children who qualify for free milk, according to specific family size and income standards.
The agency must keep records documenting that the Program follows all federal and state rules and regulations. Some of the records that must be kept are:
- The number of half-pints of milk served each day, by site, and if applicable, by category (free milk and purchased milk).
- Applications for free milk submitted by the families, by site, if milk is provided at no charge to eligible children.
- Inventory records that document the amounts and types of milk used.
- Records of income, expenditures and contributions received.