Paid Lunch Equity SY 14-15

(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
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
Please contact your assigned program specialist if you have questions.