Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Paid Lunch Equity Requirements for School Year 2018-19

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
PL 115-141, Section 776; Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C. 1760(p); 7 CFR 210.14(e); SP 12-2018
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Memo Text




The requirements for the Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) for school districts operating the National School Lunch Program were released on Thursday, April 19, 2018.  There are some significant changes included in these requirements for School Year (SY) 2018-19, including:


  •  only school food authorities (SFAs) that had a negative balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of January 31, 2018, are required to establish prices for paid lunches according to the Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) provisions
  •  any SFA with a positive or zero balance in its nonprofit school food service account as of January 31, 2018, is exempt from PLE requirements for school year 2018-19.
  • This exemption is for SY 2018-19 ONLY.  SFAs will be required to provide documentation to support the exemption for the PLE requirements with the Agreement Renewal for SY 2018-19.

SFAs maintain the discretion to complete the steps necessary to determine their target SY 2018-19 paid lunch price, consistent with PLE requirements and adjust their paid meal prices accordingly. At a minimum, SFA’s may want to consider completing the Unrounded Requirement Finder tab. The completion of this tab ensures that SFA’s have the minimal amount of Paid Lunch Price data needed to complete the calculation moving forward should they ever need or be required to complete the PLE Tool in the future.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Nutrition Services (FNS) usually distributes the PLE Tool with an accompanying guidance memo.  FNS has included this guidance document as the first tab within the PLE Tool itself.  The tab is named “PLE Guidance”.   




SY 2018-19 PLE Tool / Guidance

SP 12-2018

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