Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Equipment Assistance Grants- Fiscal Year 2018

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
Response Required
Superintendents; Principals

Primary Contact Information

Secondary Contact/s Information

Memo Reference

No references available.

Memo Text




The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act authorized to State agencies the amount of $30 million that will competitively award equipment assistance grants to eligible School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Arkansas received FY 2018 NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant funds in the amount of $344,588.00. These funds will assist SFAs in purchasing equipment needed to serve healthier meals that meet the updated meal patterns, with emphasis on serving more fruits and vegetables in school meals, including items purchased locally, improving food safety, and expanding access.


Previous NSLP Equipment Assistance Grants awarded to State agencies to provide equipment assistance to SFAs are listed below:


·       American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—$100 million

·       FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Act—$25 million

·       FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Act—$11 million

·       FY 2014 Agriculture Appropriation Act—$25 million

·       FY 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Act—$25 million

·       FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations Act---$30 million

·       FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations Act---$25 million







See Page 6 of Instructions for complete list of important dates and deadlines

·       Complete ONE Application for the specific serving site

·       MAIL the original application to:

               ATTN: NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant

               Arkansas Department of Education

               Child Nutrition Unit

               2020 West 3rd Street, Suite 404

               Little Rock, AR 72205








These funds will allow SFAs to purchase the equipment needed to meet the nutritional standards for schools. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Focus Areas* for the NSLP Equipment Assistance Competitive Grants:

  • Food Quality: Equipment that improves the quality of school nutrition meals in ways that support the nutritional standards (e.g. purchasing an equipment alternative to a deep fryer).
  •  Food Safety:  Equipment that improves the safety of food served in the school meal programs (e.g. cold/hot holding equipment, dishwashing equipment, refrigeration, milk coolers, freezers, blast chiller, etc.).
  • Energy Efficiency:  Equipment that improves the overall energy efficiency of the school foodservice operations (e.g. purchase of an energy-efficient walk-in freezer that replaces and outdated, energy-demanding freezer).
  • Expand Participation:  Equipment that allows Local Education Authorities (LEA) to support to improve and/or expand participation in a school meal program (e.g. equipment for serving meals in a non-traditional setting or to better utilize cafeteria space).
    Other factors will be considered including, but not limited to the following:
  • Opportunities to realize a meaningful impact on nutrition and quality of meals (e.g., replacing fryers with combination steamer-ovens)
  • Strategies for adopting smarter lunchrooms (e.g. lunchroom changes that provide more convenience and appeal to the student population, highlighting healthier choices, redesigning menus that target healthier entrees/options)
  • The availability of existing State and local funding for equipment purchases. Districts that have a three month operating balance are encouraged to use Child Nutrition funds to purchase needed equipment
  •  Age of food service equipment or lack of appropriate equipment.


                               *One piece of equipment may cover more than one focus area.



Criteria established by USDA to award this funding and allocation are as follows:

  • Funding to be awarded to LEAs based on a competitive grant process that is fair and equitable[ND(1] .
  • Competitive grants will be awarded based on the need for equipment assistance in participating schools with priority given to schools in which not less than 50 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced price meals or claiming percentage for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools of Identified Student Population (ISP) X 1.6 percentage.
  • Equipment purchase MUST comply with Federal and State procurement regulations[ND(2] .
  • Funds must be tracked separately from other Child Nutrition funds.
  • No administrative funds are available from these grants.
  • SA will give priority to SFA’s that did not receive previous NSLP Equipment Assistance grant awards (e.g., ARRA and the FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Act).


Although one USDA criterion for award of the competitive equipment grants will be the percentage of free and reduced eligible students by school as of October 1, 2017 or claiming percentage for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools of Identified Student Population (ISP) X 1.6 percentage; USDA has confirmed that schools with less than 50% of free and reduced-priced students may apply for these equipment funds.




The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) defines equipment for the purpose of the NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant per Regulation 2CFR Part 200.33 as “tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level as established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000.

However, for the FY 2018 Equipment Assistance Grants, Congress has specified that the threshold for the purchase of equipment cannot be *lower than $1,000.

*This per-unit threshold of $1,000 refers ONLY to purchases through the NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant.



After the LEA applies for and receives a grant award for the estimated cost of ONE piece of equipment, the LEA will first need to pay the full cost of the equipment and installation at each kitchen/serving site receiving the award.  After installation and equipment is deemed operational, the District/LEA will submit an equipment invoice for reimbursement. ONLY ACTUAL COSTS OF APPROVED EQUIPMENT WILL BE REIMBURSED, NOT TO EXCEED THE NSLP EQUIPMENT ASSISTANCE COMPETITIVE GRANTS AWARD.  If the invoice total is more than the original grant award for that piece of equipment, the LEA will have to pay the difference. 


As with all Federal grant funds, procurement regulations (7CFR Part 210.21 and 2CFR Part 200.317-326) apply . Equipment competitively procured using these grant funds must be necessary, reasonable, and allocable.


It is suggested that LEAs who are considering applying for equipment funding focus on the areas identified by USDA Focus Areas for Equipment listed above and work collaboratively with parents, teachers, students and funders to identify and implement strategies for meeting equipment, infrastructure, and training needs. Equipment may be new, renovated or replacement and include installation costs within 3 feet of equipment.


DO NOT SOLICIT OR PURCHASE any equipment prior to written obligation notification of award from the Arkansas Department of Education, Child Nutrition Unit (ADE CNU) that the district has received a NSLP equipment competitive grant award.


*All federal, state and local procurement regulations MUST BE FOLLOWED with regard to open and free competitive procurements for the expenditure of federal grant funds. 



Vendor, broker, manufacturer, contractor, distributor, etc. of a product cannot have input into the development of product specifications or procurement specifications and/or advance review of the completed procurement documents, Requests for Proposal (RFP)/Contracts. Such activities would compromise open and free competition [2 CFR 200.319(a)].


For further information regarding the NSLP Equipment Assistance Competitive Grant application, contact the district’s Area Specialist, Mary Lee Dennis or Ashley Williams at (501) 324-9502.




In accordance with Federal civil rights law and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.


Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.


To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form.


To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:


(1) mail:        U.S. Department of Agriculture

                     Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

                     1400 Independence Avenue, SW

                     Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;


(2) fax:          202-690-7442; or


(3) email:


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.




2018 NSLP Equipment Grant Instructions

2018 NSLP Equipment Grant Application





Print Memo

Share this memo