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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools / Private School Administrators / Residential Child Care Institutions ( RCCIs)

FROM:           Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:            December 23, 2004

SUBJECT:     Severe Need Breakfast Program Reimbursement

***** Please forward to Assistant Superintendents, Principals, and Food Service Staff *****

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, Public Law 108-265, changed the reimbursement calculation for Severe Need Breakfast Program beginning School Year 2004 – 2005.

A severe need breakfast school as defined, in part, by federal regulation 7 CFR 220.9 (e) is one in which: “40 percent or more of the lunches served to students at the school in the second preceding school year were served free or at a reduced price.”   The Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition Services office determines which schools qualify as severe need breakfast schools based on monthly claims for reimbursement which are submitted on-line by local School Food Authorities ( SFAs).

Before the Reauthorization Act of 2004, federal regulations for severe need breakfast determined reimbursement to free and reduced severe need breakfast as the reported cost of breakfast, not to exceed the federal maximum severe need reimbursement rate set by federal regulations.   This reimbursement amount was calculated monthly by the Department of Education for each School Food Authority and was included in the monthly food service reimbursement check to the School Food Authority.  

The Reauthorization Act requires severe need breakfast reimbursement for free and reduced price breakfast to all schools that are eligible for severe need breakfast to be the federal severe need rate, not based on cost.   This rate may mean a slight increase in your breakfast reimbursement.

However, the reimbursement process for the severe need breakfast program will be different this School Year 2004 – 2005, due to the effective date of the Reauthorization Act being after the start of the 2004 – 2005 School Year and due to lack of funding to make the necessary programming changes to the on-line reimbursement system.    All schools with a breakfast program will be reimbursed at the regular breakfast rate.   Schools that qualify as severe need breakfast will receive an additional quarterly check, December 2004, March 2005, June 2005, and September 2005 for the additional reimbursement for severe need breakfast.   The reason checks are paid so late is that the Department of Education is required to allow 60 days from the last day of the month for claims to be submitted, per federal regulation 7 CFR 210.

If you have any questions, please contact Walter Beesley, Education Specialist, Child Nutrition Services at 207-624-6875 or e-mail:

SG/JM/WB/ dcm