Arkansas Department of Education Community Eligibility Provision

Memo Information

Memo Number
FIN-14-061
Memo Date
3/26/2014
Memo Type
Regulatory
Section
Fiscal & Administrative Services
Regulatory Authority
§7 CFR 210, 220, 245, Section 104(a) of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Public Law 111-296, USDA Memo SP- 19-2014, USDA Memo SP- 21-2014
Response Required
NO
Attention
Co-op Directors; Elementary Principals; Middle School Principals; High School Principals; Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors

Contact Information

Memo Text

Section 104(a) of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to provide the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as an alternative to household applications for free and reduced price meal eligibility in high poverty Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and schools. The Community Eligibility Provision is a 4-year reimbursement option.  The intent of CEP is to provide improved access to school meals at no charge and eliminate administrative burden of collecting household applications.  An LEA may participate in the CEP for all schools in the LEA, groups of schools or individual schools.  The requirements for eligibility, reimbursement, and reporting under the CEP are set forth in section 11(a)(1)(F) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.  Eligibility To be eligible for CEP, LEAs and schools must: • Meet a minimum level: ≥40% of enrolled students as of April 1 of the year prior to implementing the option are Identified Students -  directly certified for free meals; o Identified Students:  The law defines Identified Students as “students certified for free meals based on documentation of benefit receipt or categorical eligibility as described in 7 CFR 245.6a(c)(2)…” Students who are directly certified for free meals based on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), students who are categorically eligible for free meals based on homeless, runaway, migrant youth, foster and Head Start, Even Start. o Includes:  other students in the household of a SNAP directly certified student.  o IT DOES NOT INCLUDE:  students who are categorically eligible based on submission of a SNAP meal application or income application. • Agree to serve lunches and breakfasts at no charge to all students for four (4) successive school years; • Agree to cover with non-Federal funds any costs of providing meals at no charge to all students above amounts provided in Federal reimbursement.  In addition, the LEA/school shall: • Currently be administering all United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meal programs in accordance with program regulations; • Not collect free and  reduced price applications from households in participating schools during the period of participation in the CEP; and • Count total breakfasts and lunches to students at the point of service. The LEA may elect to participate in CEP district wide, by individual school or by a group of schools in the LEA.  If a new school is added to the LEA and the number of Identified Students is not available as of April 1, the LEA may not include the new school in CEP.  Determining Percentage of Identified Students: To determine the percentage of Identified Students in each school, • The district will take the number of Identified Students as defined above and divide by the current enrollment of students that have access to the NSLP and SBP as of April 1.  ( of Identified Students/Enrollment as of April 1).  Not to exceed 100%. o For Individual School– The percentage of Identified Students is ≥40% of enrolled students as of April 1 o For Group of Schools- The aggregate total of Identified Students of the group of schools is ≥40% of enrolled students as of April 1 o For District Wide– The aggregate total of Identified Students is ≥40% of enrolled students as of April 1 • When determining the percentage of Identified Students, NO Rounding is applied. Reimbursement: The percent of Identified Students is multiplied by the USDA determined factor.  This factor will range between 1.3 and 1.6.  USDA is permitted to change the factor.  However, an LEA/school electing CEP will use the same multiplier for the entire 4-year cycle.  After the 4-year cycle, the LEA/school will reapply using the currently approved USDA factor.  The claiming percentages established for a school in the First Year are guaranteed for a period of four school years and may be increased if Identified Student percentages rise in that school. Schools electing CEP will be reimbursed at the current reimbursement rates, including safety net reimbursement for lunch and severe need reimbursement for breakfast. The Federal reimbursement must cover the cost of operating the child nutrition program(s).  When Federal reimbursement does not cover the cost of operating the child nutrition program(s), the LEA must cover the difference from nonfederal sources.  Nonfederal sources are any funds other than Federal reimbursement available to the nonprofit school food serve account.  FIRST YEAR: Reimbursement for a school in the FIRST Year under the CEP is based on the percentage of Identified Students as of April 1 of the school year prior to the First Year of electing to participate in CEP.  For the 2014-2015 School Year, that date will be April 1, 2014. • The percentage of Identified Students is multiplied by a factor of 1.6 for the 2014-2015 school year to define the total percentage of meals reimbursed at the Federal free reimbursement rate. • Example – LEA participates in CEP district wide.  The percentage of Identified Students in the district is 45%.  45% x 1.6 USDA factor = 72%.  The district will claim 72% of meals served in the month at the free reimbursement rate for both breakfast and lunch.  The remaining 28% of meals served are claimed at the paid rate.  There are NO reduced meals claimed.  SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH YEAR:  For the Second, Third and Fourth years of CEP, the LEA/school(s) may use the initial percentage of Identified Students used for determining reimbursement in the First Year, OR the percentage of Identified Students as of April 1 of the preceding year, whichever is higher for the individual school, group of schools or district wide. • Example – LEA participates in CEP district wide.  The Identified Students as of April 1, 2014 was 45%.  o The LEA uses 45% x 1.6 for the 2014-2015 School Year free claiming percentage o As of April 1, 2015, the district wide percentage of Identified Students increased to 47%.  The LEA can use 47% x 1.6 for free meal claiming percentage in 2015-2016 school year and until the end of the 4-year cycle. 47% x 1.6 = 75.2%.  The school may claim 75.2% of meals served at the free reimbursement rate.  The remaining 24.8% are claimed at the paid reimbursement rate. After the 4-year cycle, the LEA/school(s) must meet the Identified Students minimum of 40% in order to begin another 4-year cycle. Non-Base Year Provision 2 Districts –  Districts currently operating in a Provision 2 Non-Base Year will use the statewide direct certification match information provided in August 2013, September 2013, January 2014 and March 2014 to determine the percentage of Identified Students. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) award– Since the 1.6 factor is intended to provide an estimate of the total number of students eligible for free and reduced price meals in eligible schools, the product of the identified student percentage multiplied by 1.6 will be used for the purposes of awarding FFVP funds.  Schools in LEAs electing the CEP for the entire LEA or as part of a group of schools electing the CEP with a shared identified student percentage must still use theindividual school CEP percentagefor purposes of awarding FFVP funds. IMPORTANT DEADLINES:   • April 15, 2014 - ALL LEAs must report to ADE, CNU by April 15 of each year, the percentage of Identified Students at EACH school as of April 1 in the LEA irrelevant to participation in CEP. • ADE, CNU will post a list of eligible schools on the ADE, CNU website • ADE, CNU will report the eligible schools to USDA by May 1 of each year • By June 30th, districts/schools must provide to ADE, CNU the election to participate in the CEP to begin July 1, 2014, for the 2014-2015 school year if eligible.  This election form will be available with the upcoming Commissioner’s Memo describing instructions for reporting of CEP.  An addendum to the district’s 2014-2015 Child Nutrition Agreement and Policy Statement for participation in CEP shall be approved by ADE, CNU and completed prior to implementation of the CEP. A Commissioner’s Memo related to instructions for LEA reporting of Identified Students as of April 1, 2014 to ADE, CNU will follow this memo. USDA CEP Guidance: Link to CEP Guidancehttp://www.fns.usda.gov/community-eligibility-provision-guidance-and-qas USDA CEP Calculator: USDA has provided a CEP calculator to help LEAs with the decision to elect the CEP. Link to CEP calculatorhttp://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/community-eligibility-provision USDA Title 1 Guidance: Link to CEP Title 1 Guidancehttp://www.fns.usda.gov/community-eligibility-provision-department-education-title-i-guidance E-Rate Communication Federal Communications Commission E-Rate DA 12-1196  http://www.fcc.gov/document/universal-service-administrative-company-3

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