COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
April 29, 2016
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Virginia has received $582,765 in National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Equipment Assistance Grant funds from the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These grant funds will be awarded through a competitive process to eligible school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
The 2016 NSLP Equipment Assistance Grant funds are intended to assist schools in purchasing equipment to: serve healthier meals; meet the updated nutrition standards and meal patterns with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables in school meals; expand access to school breakfast or lunch; improve food safety of meals served; or, improve overall energy efficiency of the school food service operation.
In compliance with the statutory requirements, priority must be given to high-need schools (i.e., schools in underserved areas, schools with limited access to other resources, and schools with aging food service equipment) where 50 percent or more of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced price meals. 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, FY 2014 and FY 2015 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.” ¹ Therefore, equipment items with a unit price of less than $5,000 are not eligible for these grant funds.
School divisions are required to follow federal, state, and local procurement laws and regulations when purchasing equipment with these grant funds and provide for full and open competition. 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 necessary, reasonable, and allocable. Therefore, using these grant funds to purchase a walk-in freezer or a salad bar for the school nutrition program would be allowable costs. However, renovation of the food service area or building an extension to a cafeteria are not allowable costs in the school nutrition programs and would not be eligible for this grant funding. Those construction and renovation costs must be paid for with other school division funds. Equipment may not be purchased with these grant funds for use by programs other than the school nutrition program. Equipment for which funds have already been obligated is also not eligible for this grant.
The $582,765 allocated for equipment purchases in Virginia is a statewide allocation. The Department of Education (DOE) may award partial grants to schools. For example, one piece of equipment may be funded instead of the two pieces requested, or a lesser amount may be awarded than requested. If more than one piece of equipment is requested on the school application, prioritize the items in order of need. No more than two equipment items per school or school nutrition site may be requested. Each equipment item requested must meet the $5,000 capital equipment threshold to be considered for funds.
This year USDA has a new initiative with the National Football League and National Dairy Council’s Fuel Up To Play 60 (FUTP60) program to provide additional funding opportunities. The FUTP60 opportunity is a separate grant announcement from this application and is an additional opportunity for school divisions to apply for funds to purchase equipment that falls below the $5,000 capitalization threshold. School divisions must apply directly to FUTP60. See Attachment C for more information.
Application (Attachment A): Due Friday, May 27, 2016, by 5 p.m.
The grant application, instructions, evaluation criteria, application submission timelines, and spending deadlines are provided in Attachment A to this memo. Consideration will be given to the SFA justification for the equipment based on several factors outlined in the grant application.
Completed grant applications must be submitted by the school division on behalf of individual schools. No more than two pieces of equipment per school site, valued at a minimum of $5,000 each, may be requested.
Grants will be awarded by June 30, 2016. The school division must spend and claim reimbursement for all grant funds awarded by June 30, 2017. 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, principles, and assurances as described in Attachment B of this memorandum. 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. Funds not spent on the equipment approved for the grant award may not be spent on other equipment or for other schools in the division.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the school nutrition program specialist assigned to your division, or Catherine Digilio Grimes, coordinator, by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (804) 225-3936.
¹ Reference: 2 CFR 200.33 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.