Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Equipment Assistance Grants- Fiscal Year 2020

Memo Information

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

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No references available.

Memo Text



The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020 authorized $30M for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to provide grants to State Agencies (SA) for providing equipment assistance to School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Arkansas has received NSLP Grant funds in the amount of $339,390. These funds will assist SFAs in purchasing equipment that is needed to serve healthier meals, improve food safety, and to help support the establishment, maintenance, or expansion of the School Breakfast Program. Funding is to be awarded based on a competitive grant process that is fair and equitable. Priority will be given to LEAs, who meet the application requirements, that have at least 50 percent of the students eligible for free or reduced price meals or Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) claiming percentage, however Local Education Agencies (LEA) with less than 50 percent can receive the grant based on other criteria. In addition, priority will be given to districts that have not received a previous NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant.

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.

Deadline for Application submission is 

4:30 P.M., FRIDAY, October 2nd, 2020

See page 5 of the Equipment Grant Instructions for a complete list of important dates and times.


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 2020 Equipment Assistance Grants, Congress has specified that the threshold for the purchase of equipment cannot be lower than $1,000.


As with all Federal funds, the equipment purchased must be allowable. Allowable expenses are determined in accordance with cost principles of Federal Regulation 2 CFR 200. All expenditures should be adequately documented and should be determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The State Agency will also check for allowable equipment purchase requests by requiring equipment documents to be submitted along with the Grant Application.

  • Appropriate utilities, (e.g. gas, water, electricity) within three feet of equipment and installation costs within three feet are reimbursable as part of grant award, with documentation.
  • Equipment may be new, renovated or replacement and include installation costs within three feet of equipment.


Reimbursement will not be provided for purchases of deep fat fryers, transport vehicles, and cafeteria tables and chairs. A few examples of costs that are not allowable in the NSLP, School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Afterschool Snack Program (ASP) are:

  • Equipment depreciation costs for non-expendable equipment items which become fully depreciated or non-expendable equipment in storage for future use.
  • Capital expenditures for land or construction, facilities, other capital asset purchases (including passenger automobiles and other equipment).
  • Any capital expenditure, which materially increases the value of capital assets, must be approved by CNU.
  • Renovation of the school nutrition area would fall under the category of construction costs that must be charged to the LEA’s general fund.
  • Facility or land occupancy by contractual agreements (which are classified as rental/purchase or leased with an option to purchase).
  • Cost associated with sales or service to adults, contract meals, other a la carte sales, and summer food service programs funded through the Arkansas Department of Human Services.


As with all Federal grant funds, procurement regulations 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.
*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. Such activities would compromise open and free competition [2 CFR 200.319(a)]. 
*Equipment for which funds have already been obligated are not eligible for this grant. For example, bond money or equipment bid out and/or purchased prior to the grant award.

After the LEA applies for and receives a grant award for the quoted cost of the piece of equipment, the LEA will need to pay the full cost of the equipment and installation, if applicable. After installation, training, and equipment is deemed operational, the District must submit the Request for Reimbursement along with all required documentation before reimbursement from the State Agency will occur. If the invoice total is more than the original bid quote/grant award for that piece of equipment and installation, if applicable, the LEA will be required to pay the difference.
*Only actual costs of approved equipment will be reimbursed, not to exceed the original bid amount/grant award.


In order to make the most effective use of the grant funds, the grant application must address at least one or more of the following:

  • Food Safety: Equipment that improves the safety of food served in the school nutrition programs.
  • Expand Participation: Equipment that supports improved and/or expanded participation in a school nutrition program, including the School Breakfast Program.
  • Opportunities to realize a meaningful impact on nutrition and quality of meals (e.g., replacing fryers with combination steamer-ovens). Equipment that improves the quality of school nutrition meals in ways that support the nutritional standards.
  • Strategies for adopting lunchroom changes that provide more convenience and appeal to the student.
  • 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.


To be eligible to receive the 2020 NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant the following must be met:

  • Application must be for a school site that has a cafeteria.
  • The total request of the equipment expenditure must be $1,000 or greater.
  • Less than a 25% excess of commodity PAL dollars not spent in school year 2019-20.

Submitted applications must include all required attachments.*See application checklist for a full list of all documents that are required.            

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

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