In previous years, school program regulations under the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 required school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure sufficient funds were provided to the nonprofit school food service account for meals served to students not eligible for free or reduced price meals.
The two approved ways to meet this requirement were to ensure prices charged for “paid” meals met the average requirement or through deposit of other non-Federal sources to the nonprofit school food service account.
On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed the Omnibus Spending Bill HR 1625 (115). In Section 776 of this bill, the following statement was added:
For school year 2018-2019, only a school food authority that had a negative balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of January 31, 2018, shall be required to establish a price for paid lunches in accordance with Section 12(p) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 USC 1760(p).
USDA policy memo SP 12-2018 provides notice that any Sponsor with a positive or zero balance in its nonprofit food service account as of January 31, 2018 is exempt from PLE requirements for school year (SY) 2018-19. Sponsors with a positive balance in the Food Service Fund as of January 31, 2018 will not be required to complete the PLE tool/requirements and will indicate that they have chosen this exemption on the Sponsor Application in KN-CLAIM during Program Renewal.
In additional USDA guidance, SFAs that charged less than $2.91 for paid lunches in the current year and held a negative fund balance as of January 31, 2018 will be required to adjust their average price or provide additional non-Federal funds to the non-profit school food service account for SY 2018-2019.
Based on this guidance from USDA and KSDE, USD 231 Nutrition Services has completed the SY 2018- 19 Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) Tool as provided by the USDA. The Unrounded Requirement Finder shows that our district’s meal prices should have been an average of $2.57 in SY 2017-2018 to meet the Paid Lunch Equity regulations. The 2017-2018 actual weighted average price was $2.51.
Additionally, the calculations for SY 2018-2019 would require that the average weighted price for USD 231 to equal $2.68 (up $0.11). The amount of the required per-meal increase continues to be calculated using 2 percent plus the current Consumer Price Index of 2.31 percent (4.31 percent total).
Based on the required calculations and the Food Service Fund’s continued solvency, student meal prices will be increased by a modest $0.05 at all levels in order to keep pace with the Paid Lunch Equity tool should it be required again in SY 2019-2020. In addition, there will be an increase of $0.05 for adult lunch and $0.10 for adult breakfast in order to maintain a price equal to the fully-reimbursed rate for a free student meal. Please find below the new meal prices beginning the school year 2018-2019.