ATTENTION: CO-OP DIRECTORS, CHILD NUTRITION DIRECTORS, DETERMINING OFFICIALS, CHILD NUTRITION MANAGERS
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Eligibility Manual for School Meals was revised for the 2017-2018 school year. USDA has advised ADE, Child Nutrition that there are no changes to the manual for the 2018-2019 school year. All district personnel who are involved in the free and reduced price meal application process or the verification process should have a copy of the manual which is available on the ADE, Child Nutrition website under the Guidance tab at https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/admin/Files/20210312121203_2017-18_Eligibility_Manual_Revised_a1.pdf
The USDA Eligibility Manual makes reference to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). These assistance programs do not pertain to the state of Arkansas. The only assistance program that qualifies a student to be categorically eligible for free meals in Arkansas is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
LEAs/SFAs should retain a copy of previous years’ manuals as part of the required record retention. USDA requires that records are retained for three (3) years, however, the State of Arkansas requires that records are retained for five (5) years.
LEAs/SFAs are reminded that date flexibility when approving applications remains an option. The attached USDA memo SP-11-2014 and Application for Date Flexibility provide explanations and procedures for districts that elect to use this option.
SFA/LEAs should direct any questions concerning this guidance to the district’s Area Specialist at 501-324-9502.
SP-11-2014 Effective Date of Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications
Election to use date flexibility for Free and Reduced Priced Meal Applications