Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Election Procedures for SY2020 - 2021

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
7 CFR 245; Section 11(F) of the Richard B. Russell National School Act (42 USC 1759a); 7 CFR 210, 220, Public Law 111-296; USDA Memo SP 54-2016; SP 61-2016; SP 35-2015; SP 08-2015; SP 11-2018; COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #6
Response Required
Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors/Managers; Data Stewards (SIS; eSchool; eFinance; TRIAND)

Primary Contact Information

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Memo Text



Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) special provision that provides schools with an alternative method for counting and claiming student meals in high poverty local educational agencies (LEAs).  Schools must participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and a School Breakfast Program (SBP) for the 2020-2021 school year (SY).  LEAs electing to participate in CEP agree to serve all students lunches AND breakfasts at no charge for four (4) successive school years.  LEAs may choose to participate as individual schools, groups of schools, or as a complete LEA.


Procedures to Participate:


LEAs that wish to participate in CEP for the 2020-2021 school year should email the following to

  1. Completed SY2020-2021 CEP “Election to Participate” form. For information regarding Identified Student Population Reporting (ISP) and the requirements to participate in CEP, refer to Commissioner’s Memos CNU-20-034. Information regarding percentage of Identified Students as reported by LEAs/schools as of April 1, 2020, through June 15, 2020, is available on the Child Nutrition website under “Special Provisions” .A LEA/school must have a minimum ISP of 40% to elect to participate in CEP.
  2. Documentation of approval by the school board to participate in CEP. 

Contact the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) at 501-324-9502 for additional information and assistance in the decision making process.  USDA has provided a “Community Eligibility Provision Monthly Reimbursement Estimator “to assist in determining the cost effectiveness of implementing this special provision.


Additional information may also be found on the CNU webpage under “Special Provisions”. LEAs are encouraged to contact your area specialists to discuss the potential financial impact of CEP.


The deadline to elect to participate in CEP for SY2020-2021 is August 31, 2020.


Approved LEAs/schools choosing to participate in CEP will be notified by letter after all documentation has been received and reviewed.  The SY2020-2021 Community Eligibility Provision Addendums (both pages) to the Child Nutrition Agreement and Policy Statement will be included as an attachment with the approval letter.  These addendums must be signed and returned to CNU at the address provided.  A copy of the signed CEP Addendum to the Agreement and Policy Statement will be returned to the SFA and must be on file before meals are provided to students at no charge.


For Enhanced Student Achievement (ESA) funding information contact:

Cindy Smith, DESE Fiscal Service and Support



For additional information on Title I and E-Rate for schools electing CEP refer to the “Community Eligibility Provision Planning and Implementation Guidance” (September 2016) at:



2020-2021 CEP Election Form

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