Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education 2019-2020 Severe Need

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
7 CFR 220.9
Response Required
Superintendents; Bookkeepers; Child Nutrition Directors/Managers

Primary Contact Information

Memo Reference

No references available.

Memo Text




Severe Need provides additional reimbursement for each breakfast served to free or reduced eligible students for those schools that served at least 40% of lunches at the free or reduced rate during the second preceding year if the school is approved by the state agency.


The School Year 2019-2020 Severe Need Breakfast Reimbursement rates will be announced after July 1, 2019.  For informational purposes, the reimbursement rate for the 2018-2019 school year (SY) is an additional $0.31 for each free or reduced price breakfast served. 

To qualify for the Severe Need Breakfast Reimbursement each school (not school district) must meet the following criteria:

  1. The school is currently participating in or desires to begin a breakfast program.
  2.  Forty percent (40%) or more of the lunches served to students in the school in the second preceeding year (2017-2018) were served at a free or reduced price.

DISTRICT DECISION TO OPT OUT: Each district that chooses to “Opt Out” must complete the attached District Decision to Opt Out Form.  This is only if the district is not going to apply for individual schools to receive the additional Severe Need Breakfast Reimbursement.  This form must be signed by the Superintendent, or the person authorized to sign, as listed on page one of the SY 2018-2019 Renewal Agreement. 


SEVERE NEED APPLICATION PROCESS and DEADLINE:   Each district that DOES want to apply to receive the additional Severe Need Breakfast Reimbursement for any school must complete the Severe Need Application Form, listing ALL schools which will be in operation during SY 2019-2020 regardless of whether a school may be eligible.


All schools must be included without regard to the 40% criteria because the total participation in all schools for lunches served to students must balance to the total number of lunches claimed by the school district for the 2017-18 school year.  The Severe Need determination is made on a per-school basis, not for the entire school district.  Only those schools that maintain lunch counts by each individual school may be approved for this additional reimbursement.  


For example, if two Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) (i.e., Junior High and High School) use the same cafeteria and the meal counts are not reported separately for each LEA to the district level, neither will be eligible for the additional Severe Need rate regardless of the percentage (%) of Free and Reduced Price participation.


APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:  Instructions for completing the Severe Need Application are provided on the tab labeled “Instructions”.  Please review the instructions prior to completing the application.  The gray boxes on the form will auto-calculate the data entered into the computer.  Print, sign and return the application as instructed below.


COMMUNITY ELIGIBILITY SCHOOLS:  Severe Need eligibility is based on site-level data.  If the school operated under Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) during SY 2017-2018, the individual school’s Identified Student Percentage (ISP) must be used to determine eligibility for severe need reimbursement.  Therefore, the individual school’s Identified Student Percentage (ISP) from SY 2017-2018 multiplied by 1.6 must be at least 40 percent to qualify for severe need reimbursement.  Schools participating in CEP as part of a group may not use the group free claiming percentage.  See the instructions tab for specific instructions on how to report meals in schools operating under the Community Eligibility Provision.


PROVISION 2 SCHOOLS:  Severe Need eligibility is based on site-level data.  If the school operated under Provision 2 during SY 2017-2018, the lunch meals served at that school, at the free and reduced rate, must be 40% in order for the school to be eligible.


PAPERWORK REDUCTION AND MAINTENANCE:   EVERY district must submit either the Severe Need Application Form to apply for additional funding OR the District Decision to Opt Out Form to decline additional funding.


RECORD RETENTION:  Districts are reminded to maintain all documentation at the district level to justify student eligibility status, including meal benefit applications and categorically eligible lists (direct certification, homeless, runaway, migrant, etc.) for a period of 5 years after the last claim is filed based on those eligibility determinations.


Application for Severe Need funding or Opt Out Form must be received before close of business on Friday, December 7, 2018.  Indicate the LEA number and district name in the subject line of the email and on the form. The signed form should be emailed to

If the District does not have the ability to scan and email, call Ryan Jones at (501) 324-9502.




How to Print Year to Date Reports

School Year 2019-20 Severe Need Application

School Year 2019-20 Severe Need District Decision to Opt Out Form

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