P. O. BOX 2120

September 17, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Required Changes to the Procedures for School Nutrition Program (SNP) Electronic Claims Submission

The Department of Education has previously announced the 
Virginia PEN network upgrade (Supts. Informational Memo 
106, dated May 14, 1999).  The major change affecting 
Virginia PEN is the replacement of aging, character-based 
technology with the use of industry standard browsers, 
Internet access, and graphical interfaces. 

School Nutrition Programs at the local level will be 
directly affected by this change in technology. The current 
method of transmitting a completed claim for federal meal 
programs reimbursement by logging into Virginia PEN, 
selecting a menu option, and transmitting files will be 
replaced.  The new procedure will require use of a browser 
and access to the Internet to log-in to the Department's 
server to create an Internet based transaction.  

There is NO CHANGE in the way the school nutrition data is 
collected, consolidated, and entered into the claim 
software at the local level.  The E-claim software must 
still be used to collect and process data for monthly 
claims and adjustments. The only change is in the method of 
transmitting a "processed" claim to DOE. 

In order to accomplish these required procedural changes, 
the school nutrition director and/or individual responsible 
for transmitting school nutrition claims must have a 
Pentium based computer with an Internet browser and access 
to the Internet.  The minimum hardware specifications are 
provided in enclosure 1. A computer that meets these 
specifications must be available to the school nutrition 
program by November 30, 1999.  School nutrition funds may 
be used to purchase additional hardware or peripherals for 
the school nutrition programs, if needed, to meet these 

Effective Date of Conversion: Effective December 1,1999, 
all school divisions must submit claims, adjustments, and 
reports with the new interface.  All claims for September 
and October must be submitted by November 15, 1999.  From 
November 16, 1999 to November 30, 1999, the Department's 
technical staff will convert VAPEN servers and dial-in 
phone connections from the older character based technology 
to the new browser based technology.  No claims will be 
accepted during this period.  The Department expects the 
new system will be operational on December 1, 1999. 

Training: Training for one person from each division will 
be provided regionally beginning with the last week of 
September. Each school division should send the individual 
responsible for submitting the school nutrition e-claim.  
This should be the person with access to the 
superintendent's Virginia PEN signature account, log-in, 
and password.  Training will be conducted in computer labs 
for a "hands-on" session; space will be limited to one 
person per division. The attached training schedule 
(enclosure 2) assigns a designated training site for each 

Please complete the enclosed registration form (enclosure 
3) and FAX it to the School Nutrition Office at (804)786-
3117 by next Friday, September 24, 1999.  Confirmation of 
registration and directions to the training site will be 
sent.  School nutrition funds may be used for travel 
expenses incurred.

Systems Testing: The Department is beta testing the new 
graphical connection to Virginia PEN at this time.  Several 
school divisions have been selected to be test sites and 
will submit claims using the new system.

We are confident this upgrade to the transmission procedure 
will be a positive change for school divisions. For further 
information regarding this new process, you may contact 
Catherine Digilio Grimes, director, School Nutrition 
Programs at (804) 225-2074.

Attachment:     A hard copy of this memo and its attachment
                will be sent to the superintendent's office.
*This training is not mandatory for the school divisions who
are participating in the beta testing.