Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Election Procedures for SY2023 – 2024

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 15-2016; SP 54-2016; SP 61-2016; SP 35-2015; SP 08-2015; SP 11-2018
Response Required
Child Nutrition Directors/Managers; CTE Coordinator (COOPs and regular school districts); Data Stewards (SIS; eSchool; eFinance; TRIAND); Superintendents

Primary Contact Information

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 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 :

  1. 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.
  1. 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 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.

For Enhanced 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).

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