(Provided to LEAs March 2014) CNS Update: Paid Lunch Equity School Year 2014-15 Calculations The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released memorandum SP 15-2014 titled Paid Lunch Equity: School Year 2014-15 Calculations. Included with this memorandum is the Paid Lunch Equity Tool (PLE Tool) for SY 14-15. All local education agencies (LEA), regardless of current lunch prices, must annually review their paid lunch prices to ensure compliance with the paid lunch equity requirement using the USDA PLE Tool. The completed tool must be kept on file as it is required for Administrative Reviews. In addition, each year’s PLE Tool calculates information that will be used in the next school year’s tool. For example, to complete the SY 14-15 PLE Tool, you will need information from the SY 13-14 PLE Tool that you completed last year. The LEA is considered noncompliant when the average paid lunch price is less than the difference between the free and paid Federal reimbursement rates, currently $2.65. If the weighted average paid lunch price is less than $2.65, LEAs must take action. There are three options: 1. Increase paid lunch prices, or 2. Contribute non-Federal funds to the food service account, or 3. Increase the paid lunch price by a smaller amount and contribute the remaining amount using non-Federal funds. We have included instructions and helpful hints for completing your SY 14-15 PLE Tool as an attachment to this e-mail. Credits and Shortfalls When paid lunch prices are increased beyond the requirement, you will receive a credit towards the next year’s price increase requirement. A credit is recorded in the SY 13-14 PLE Tool under the tab; SY 13-14 Price Calculator in the box titled; Remaining Credit Carried Forward to SY 2014-15. You must carefully track and document the use of a credit in your tool. The tool will calculate and use credits for you. Likewise, when paid lunch prices are not increased sufficiently, you will have a shortfall. A shortfall is recorded in the SY 13-14 PLE Tool under the tab; SY 13-14 Price Calculator in the box titled; Remaining Increase Carried Forward to SY 2014-15. You must carefully track and document how shortfalls are resolved. The tool will also calculate shortfalls for you. Allowable non-Federal Funds For those LEAs that opt to contribute non-Federal funds in lieu of raising prices, for school year 2014-15, allowable sources include: Per meal non-Federal reimbursement for any paid meal; breakfast or lunch Any funds provided by organizations for any paid meal Any proportion attributable to paid meals from direct payments made from school district funds to support lunch service Exemptions to Paid Lunch Equity The goal of paid lunch equity was to bring in new revenue to strengthen programs financially and to support the increased cost of new meal patterns. For some LEAs, additional revenue may not be necessary therefore, Child Nutrition Services will allow LEAs to request an exemption to Paid Lunch Equity requirement for SY 2014-15. LEAs must be able to demonstrate that an increase in paid lunch prices would cause the food service account to exceed the three months operating expenses rule. We will send an e-mail with instructions for requesting an exemption soon. At this time, you must keep your PLE Tool on file. We may collect the SY 14-15 PLE Tool and this process will be communicated to you in our annual program renewal agreement bulletin distributed in June this year. Please contact your assigned program specialist if you have questions.
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