Superintendent's Memo #100-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 8, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization:  Equity in School Lunch Pricing Provision

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-296) was signed into law by the President on December 13, 2010.  The Act reauthorized the federal school nutrition programs, including the School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide policy memos and guidance on the implementation of the varying provisions of the Act or will publish interim and final rules as appropriate.  School divisions, in serving as school food authorities (SFAs), should pay particular attention to Section 205 of the Act, which impacts pricing for paid lunches.

Section 205 of the Act requires SFAs participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to ensure that schools provide the same level of support for lunches served to students paying for lunch as for lunches served to students eligible for free lunch.  This provision is effective July 1, 2011, for school year 2011-2012 and applies to student lunch prices.

School food authorities must compare the price for paid lunches to the difference between the per meal federal reimbursement for free and paid lunches.  For school year 2011-2012, this value is $2.46 (difference between the free reimbursement rate of $2.72 and the paid reimbursement rate of $0.26).  Not all school divisions will be required to increase prices.  Specific requirements are as follows:

For example:

Meals served to adults are not eligible for federal reimbursement, nor do they count toward determining the value of USDA donated food assistance.  Federal reimbursements, students’ meal payments, and other nonprofit food service revenues cannot be used to subsidize meals served to adults.  Meals served to adults must be priced so the payment is sufficient to cover the entire cost of each meal including the value of donated foods.  The minimum adult meal price should reflect the price charged to students paying full price, plus the current value of USDA cash and donated food assistance (entitlement and bonus), plus the value of state lunch reimbursement.

The attached fact sheet from USDA on Equity in School Lunch Pricing provides additional information.  The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will publish an interim rule on these requirements by July 1, 2011.  Further guidance will be provided by USDA in conjunction with publication of the final rule.

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  or by telephone at (804) 225-2074.



  1. Food and Nutrition Service Equity in School Lunch Pricing, Fact Sheet (PDF)