Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Paid Lunch Equity for Child Nutrition Programs

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
Section 767, Consolidation Appropriations Act, SP 11-2021
Response Required
Superintendents; Principals; General Business Managers; Bookkeepers; Child Nutrition Directors/Managers

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text

The purpose of this memo is to provide guidance for paid lunch pricing in Child Nutrition Programs for the 2021-22 school year.  The Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) tool is used to determine the weighted average price of a paid lunch or the amount of non- federal funds that must be put into the non-profit food service account.  Under Section 767, of Division A of the Appropriations Act, for school year 2021-2022, only a School Food Authority (SFA) having a negative balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of December 31, 2020, will be required to complete the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) PLE Tool.  School districts with a zero or positive balance are exempt from this requirement but need to retain the APSCN Detailed Revenue Report for period 6/21 (December) showing the balance. 

All SFAs are encouraged to complete the PLE Tool and establish a paid lunch price as a future reference.  However, SFAs opting into Child Nutrition Waiver # 85 to operate the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during the 21-22 school year, serving all students at no cost, are not required to do so. 

Complete the enclosed FORM to record the district’s PLE status.  If your balance is negative, complete the attached PLE Tool and return both documents to

If your program has a zero or positive balance, retain copies of all documents in the district for Child Nutrition Administrative Review and audit purposes. 

If you have questions, contact your Area Specialist at 501-324-9502.

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