Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Claiming Preschool Meals for Reimbursement

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
7 CFR 210.10, 7 CFR 220.08, 7 CFR 226
Response Required
Superintendents; Principals; Child Nutrition Directors/Managers

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text

ATTENTION:           Co-op Directors; Elementary Principals; High School Principals; Middle School Principals; Secondary Principals; Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors; Child Nutrition Managers



Preschool meals are allowed to be claimed for federal reimbursement through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) when school is in session and students are receiving instruction.


Days of operation for preschool students may be different than days of operation for students attending grades Kindergarten – 12 if different calendars have been adopted by the district.  If the preschool is open and providing instruction to students, meals may be claimed for reimbursement to enrolled students through the Child Nutrition Unit.


When a snack is provided after the school day ends and an instruction or enrichment component is added, snacks may be claimed for reimbursement through the Afterschool Snack Program (ASSP) which is an extension of the NSLP.  If the preschool program operates one hour longer than the traditional school day, snacks may be claimed in that expanded learning time.


When claiming reimbursement for meals through the SBP, NSLP, and ASSP, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal patterns must be followed.  The CACFP meal patterns are designed to meet the nutritional needs of preschool aged children and are linked below for each meal:


Preschool students must be given the opportunity to apply for these USDA meal programs through a free and reduced meal application. If the district is a standard counting and claiming school district, meals must be claimed based on each student eligibility status of free, reduced, or paid.  In some instances, districts operating a special provision may apply claiming percentages for these meals in addition to the meals claimed for K-12 students. 


When operating standard counting and claiming, if non-federal funds are available for meals of preschool students, it is the responsibility of the district to ensure the reduced and paid price are invoiced to the preschool and paid to the nonprofit food service account.  Districts also have the option to charge the student for the meals.  The nonprofit food service account may not absorb these costs.


Districts may also consider providing meals to preschool students through a meal contract.  Districts should ensure that the full price of the meal including food cost and labor is recouped when negotiating a price for meals in the contract.


Districts may apply to receive reimbursement for preschool meals through the annual Agreement and Policy Statement. 


For more information about how to apply, please contact your Area Specialist or the CNU at 501-324-9502.

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