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 2023-2024 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 2023-2024
school year should email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org :
- Completed SY2023-2024 CEP “Election to Participate” form. For information regarding Identified Student Population Reporting (ISP) and the requirements to participate in CEP, refer to Commissioner’s Memo CNU-23-017. Information regarding percentage of Identified Students as reported by LEAs/schools as of April 3, 2023, 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.
- Documentation of approval by the school board to participate in
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 https://www.fns.usda.gov/cn/community-eligibility-provision-resource-center .
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 SY2023-2024
is June 30, 2023.
Approved LEAs/schools choosing to participate in CEP will be notified by letter
after all documentation has been received and reviewed. The SY2023-2024
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.
Student Achievement (ESA) funding information contact:
Saliha Qazi, 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).