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Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for SY 2018-19

EO Guidance Document #
FNS-GD-2018-0011
FNS Document #
SP12-2018
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (66.54 KB)
DATE: April 19, 2018
MEMO CODE: SP12-2018
SUBJECT: Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for School Year 2018-19
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

In Section 776 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018 (PL 115-141), Congress provides that only school food authorities (SFAs) that had a negative balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of Jan. 31, 2018, shall be required to establish prices for paid lunches according to the Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) provisions in Section 12(p) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 USC 1760(p) and implemented in National School Lunch Program regulations at 7 CFR 210.14(e).

Consistent with the terms of the Act this memorandum provides notice that any SFA with a positive or zero balance in its nonprofit school food service account as of Jan. 31, 2018, is exempt from PLE requirements found at 7 CFR 210.14(e) for school year (SY) 2018-19. SFAs that had a negative balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of Jan. 31, 2018 must follow PLE requirements when establishing their prices for paid lunches in SY 2018-19. 

Because the Act affects one school year only, FNS recommends that state agencies maintain documentation that includes which SFAs are using the PLE exemption for SY 2018-19 in order to demonstrate state agency oversight of this provision. This documentation should include a record that each SFA implementing the exemption had a positive or zero balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of Jan. 31, 2018. This documentation may be reviewed by FNS upon request and during a management evaluation. 

While SFAs that meet the Act’s criteria are exempt from the PLE requirements, SFAs still maintain the discretion to complete the steps necessary to determine their target SY 2018-19 paid lunch price, consistent with program regulations at 7 CFR 210.14(e), and adjust their paid meal prices accordingly. Please note, the SY 2018-19 PLE tool and instructions will be provided in a separate communication.  

State agencies are reminded to distribute this memorandum to program operators. Program operators should direct any questions concerning this guidance to their state agency. State agencies with questions should contact the appropriate FNS regional office.

Angela M. Kline
Director
Policy and Program Development Division
Child Nutrition Programs

Updated: 04/19/2018

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.