Superintendent’s Memo #220-15

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

August 28, 2015

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: 2015 Competitive Grant Application for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Equipment Assistance Grants

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has received $489,286 in National School Lunch (NSLP) Equipment Assistance Grant funds from the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  These grant funds will be awarded through a competitive grant process to eligible school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

Application (Attachment A):  Due Date Friday, October 16, 2015, by 5 p.m.
The grant application, instructions, detailed evaluation criteria, application submission timelines, and spending deadlines are available in Attachment A.  Consideration will be given to the SFAs’ justification for the equipment based on several factors outlined in the grant application. 
The completed grant application must be submitted by the school division and not by the individual schools.  No more than two items per site may be requested.

Copies of supporting documentation for equipment prices for each piece of equipment requested must be submitted with the application (i.e., price quote from vendor).  If supporting documentation is not included with each school level application, the equipment request for that school will not be considered.

This competitive grant will be awarded by December 1, 2015.  The school divisions must spend all grant funds awarded by August 31, 2016. The grant award document for those divisions selected to receive funds will provide details on the approved school sites, approved items of equipment by site, and the grant award amount for each equipment item approved.  Grant recipients must comply with government-wide regulations, principals and assurances described in Attachment B.   The NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant funds will be paid to awardees on a reimbursement basis.  Reimbursement will only be for the actual expenses up to the award amount approved for each item.

The 2015 NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant funds are intended to assist schools in purchasing equipment to serve healthier meals, to meet the updated nutrition standards and meal patterns with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables in school meals, to expand access to school breakfast or lunch, and improve food safety.

In compliance with the statutory requirements, priority must be given to school sites in which 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduce priced meals, and are high-need schools (e.g., school in underserved areas, school with limited access to other resources, and age of food service equipment).  In addition, priority must be given to schools that did not receive a previous NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant award under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the FY 2010, FY 2013, and FY 2014 Agriculture Appropriations Acts.

Equipment requests may include new equipment, renovation of equipment, or replacement of equipment.  The definition of equipment for the purpose of this NSLP equipment assistance grant is “…tangible personal  property having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition  cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000.”

All school divisions receiving federal grant funds are required to follow all federal, state, and local procurement laws and regulations and provide for full and open competition, etc. (formal or small purchase procedures as appropriate).  Federal procurement regulations at 7 CFR 210.21 and 2 CFR Part 200.317-326 apply.  As with all federal grant funds, equipment procured using NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant funds must be practical and allocable in order to be reasonable and permissible costs. Therefore, using these grant funds to purchase a walk-in freezer for school nutrition programs, or a salad bar, would be an allowable cost. However, renovation of the food service area or building an extension to a cafeteria would be a capital expense or construction costs, which is not an allowable cost to the school nutrition programs. The expense must be supported by the school division’s general fund.  Equipment may not be purchased exclusively for programs outside of the school nutrition programs.  Equipment for which funds have already been obligated is not eligible for this grant.

The $489,286 allocated for equipment purchases in Virginia is a statewide allocation.  The VDOE may award partial grants to schools, for example, funding one piece of equipment instead of the two pieces requested or awarding a lesser amount than requested.  If more than one piece of equipment is requested on the school application, please prioritize the items in order of need.  No more than two items per school or food service site may be requested.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the school nutrition program specialist assigned to your division or Catherine Digilio Grimes, director of school nutrition programs, via e-mail at catherine.digilio-grimes@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at
(804) 225-2074.

SRS/CDG/idl

Reference: 2 CFR 200.33 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.

Attachments:

  1. Grant Application for the National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance Grants (Excel)
  2. Government-Wide Regulations and Assurance of Civil Rights Compliance (PDF)