Paid Lunch Equity (PLE)
School Food Authorities that charge students are required to price paid meals on an average, equal to the difference between free meal reimbursement and the paid meal reimbursement.
Schools that currently charge less for meal prices than the amount needed to create paid lunch equity are required to:
- gradually increase their prices over time until they meet the requirement or
- supplement their food service operating funds with non-federal funds to ensure equity or
- a combination of increasing their prices and supplementing with non-federal funds.
School Year 2022
SFAs operating NSLP-SSO during SY 2022 do NOT need to follow PLE requirements for SY 21-22 per Child Nutrition Waiver #97.
SFAs operating traditional NSLP and charging for meals do need to follow the PLE requirements and complete the tool.
- Paid Lunch Equity Tool Webinar
- Paid Lunch Equity Tool PowerPoint SY 2021
- Regulations regarding Equity in School Lunch Pricing
Pricing and Charging Resources
- Unallowable Costs (pdf)
- SP46-2016 Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Meal Charge Policies (pdf)
- SP47-2016 Unpaid Meal Charges: Clarification on Collection of Delinquent Meal Payments (pdf)
No Charge for Reduced Breakfast in Public Schools
No charge for reduced breakfast in public schools this year. When a claim is filed, reduced breakfast will be given a .30 cent per breakfast funds. Therefore make sure you still claim reduced breakfasts under breakfast.
No Charge for Reduced Lunch in Public Schools
No charge for reduced lunch in public schools for School year 2020 and 2021. When a monthly claim is filed, reduced lunch will be given a .40 cent per lunch funds. Therefore, make sure you still claim reduced lunch as reduced lunch. The accountability system must still collect the correct categories (free, reduced, paid) for filing purposes. This is part of the State budget from the general fund.
USDA Instructions for Adult Pricing
Pricing of Adult Meals in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. (pdf) USDA instruction sets forth the policy on pricing of meals served to adults under the National School Lunch, Commodity School, and School Breakfast Programs in participating schools and institutions which claim reimbursement under Sections 4 and 11 of the National School Lunch Act and Section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act.
Adult Visitors: The charge to adult visitors, at the discretion of school officials, may be higher than the charge paid by adult school employees.
School Food Service Employees: Meals served to cafeteria employees directly involved in the operation and administration of the breakfast and lunch programs (e.g., managers, cooks, servers, etc.) may be served at no charge and considered as a fringe benefit attributable to program costs. Therefore, the cost of such meals may be paid from program funds. Charging school food service employees for meals is left to the discretion of school officials.
Other School District Employees: The benefits of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs are for children only. The reimbursement and commodities received by schools are based on the number of lunches and breakfasts served to students.
No reimbursement or USDA Food are provided for meals served to adults.