The Fiscal Year 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act authorized $30M for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to provide grants to States agencies (SA) for providing equipment assistance to school food authorities (SFA) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Arkansas has received FY 2019 NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant funds in the amount of $347,324. These funds will assist SFAs in purchasing equipment that is needed to improve the quality of meals while also improving the safety of food served, the overall energy efficiency of the school food service operations, and to expand participation in school meals.
*A district is allowed to apply for multiple schools but a maximum of one school will be awarded unless excess funds are available once the initial award has been allocated.
*School districts that have an excess of 20% commodity PAL dollars (regular and DOD) not spent in school year 2018-19 will not be eligible to receive the grant.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION:
NO LATER THAN 4:30 PM, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019
NO FAXED OR EMAILED COPIES WILL BE ACCEPTED
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
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Child Nutrition Unit
2020 West 3rd Street, Suite 404
Little Rock, AR 72205
PURPOSE OF THE NSLP EQUIPMENT ASSISTANCE GRANTS:
These funds will allow SFAs to purchase the equipment needed to meet the nutritional standards for schools. In order to make the most effective use of the grant funds, the grant application must address at least one or more of the focus areas:
- 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efficiency of the school foodservice operations (e.g. purchase of an energy-efficient walk-in freezer that replaces and outdated, energy-demanding freezer).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.
COMPETITIVE GRANT CRITERIA:
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.
- Priority (more weight) will be given to LEAs for equipment for individual schools in which at least 50 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced price meals or claiming percentage for CEP schools of ISP X 1.6 percentage, however schools with less than 50 percent can receive grants based on other criteria. District-wide percentages will not be used.
- Equipment purchase MUST comply with Federal and State procurement regulations.
- Funds must be tracked separately from other Child Nutrition funds.
- The National School Lunch Equipment Assistance Grant is designed for a district to receive only one grant. A district is allowed to apply for multiple schools but a maximum of one school will be awarded unless excess funds are available once the initial award has been allocated. Also, the application must be for a school site that has a cafeteria.
- A district is allowed to apply for multiple schools but a maximum of one school will be awarded unless excess funds are available once the initial award has been allocated.
- School districts that have an excess of 20% commodity PAL dollars (regular and DOD) not spent in school year 2018-19 will not be eligible to receive the grant.
Equipment, for the purpose of the NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant per Regulation 2 CFR Part 200.33, is “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.
DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS:
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. If the invoice total is more than the original grant award for that piece of equipment, the LEA will have to pay the difference. ONLY ACTUAL COSTS OF APPROVED EQUIPMENT WILL BE REIMBURSED, NOT TO EXCEED THE NSLP EQUIPMENT ASSISTANCE COMPETITIVE GRANTS AWARD.
As with all Federal grant funds, procurement regulations at 7CFR Part 210.21 and 2CFR Part 200.317-326 applies, and 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.
DO NOT SOLICIT OR PURCHASE any equipment prior to written obligation notification of award from the Arkansas Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) Unit 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.
BID PRODUCT OR CONTRACT SPECIFICATION DEVELOPMENT:
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 or Mary Lee Dennis at (501) 324-9502.
2019 NSLP Equipment Grant Instructions
2019 NSLP Equipment Grant Application