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CEP Financial Responsibility

[Community Eligibility Provision – A Step-by-Step Guide]

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Financial Responsibility

Implementing the Community Eligibility Provision should begin with a financial evaluation.

Financial Evaluation – Identified Students

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) requires a minimum of 40 percent identified students in schools grouped for CEP purposes.

Contracting Entities (CEs) have the option to implement CEP at single campus, a group of campuses, or the entire contracting entities.

Identified students are certified for free meals through means other than individual household applications in the school year prior to implementing the provision. This includes both students who are directly certified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or participation in any categorically eligible programs.

Direct Certification: The determination of a student’s eligibility for free meals is based an eligibility determination made without an application.

CEs are encouraged to maximize direct certification by identifying additional students by contacting your local Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) office as well as CEs or local coordinators that maintain lists of categorically eligible children such as foster, migrant, and homeless students. This includes identifying any siblings that are eligible to receive benefits.

Children can also be matched using the TDA’s TXUNPS system to identify eligible students. Categorical Eligible Programs Include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Head Start, Early Head Start, Even Head Start or a comparable state-funded pre-kindergarten program
  • Foster Care
  • Homeless Program, including runaways and individuals displaced by declared disasters
  • Migrant Program

Financial Evaluation – CEP claiming percentage

The CEP claiming percentage is the amount that can be claimed at the federal free rate. It is determined by multiplying the identified student percentage (ISP) by a multiplier factor established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (currently 1.6). This calculation equals the percentage of total meals served reimbursed at the federal free rate. The remaining percentage of total meals served is reimbursed at the federal paid rate.

Any meal costs in excess of the total federal reimbursement must be covered through non-federal sources, such as general revenue, private donations or grants (non-federal).

Financial Evaluation – Current and expected reimbursements

Simple calculations make it easy to compare current reimbursement and expected CEP reimbursement.

Tip: Multiply the school’s average daily participation in each of the categories – free, reduced-price, and free – by the reimbursement rate for the category. Total the amount. Then, multiply the school’s average daily participating by the ISP. This will give you the number of students that would be reimbursed at the free rate and the paid rate. Multiply that free participant number by the free rate and the paid participant number by the paid rate. Total the amount. Compare the two amounts to create a baseline financial impact.

A multiplier change could affect financial impact.

Tip: In future years, the multiplier may fluctuate between 1.3 and 1.6. The current CEP reimbursement rate uses a 1.6 multiplier. Ensure the CE evaluates the financial impact should the multiplier change to 1.3 in future years. Also of note, once the CE begins a four year CEP cycle, the multiplier stays in effect for the cycle.

CEP Percentages may be Reestablished Annually.

Although CEP claiming percentages may be effective for up to four years, CEs may reestablish claiming percentages annually should those claiming percentages increase.

Financial Evaluation –Title I, State Compensatory Education (SCE), and E-Rate Funding CE’s staff should work with CE’s administration and the Texas Education Agency to consider any possible impact on federal and state funds received by the CEs.

Tip: At the CE level, CEP participation will not affect a CE’s Title I funding, however, distribution among campuses may change. The U.S. Department of Education has identified four approved methods for distributing Title I funds to campuses participating in CEP.

Contracting entities

SCE and E-Rate funding uses the CEP claiming percentage formula – the identified student percentage multiplied by 1.6. CE staff can assist in identifying the impact of this funding calculation.

Funding Impacted by CEP

State Compensatory Education (SCE) State funding that provides financial support for programs and/or services designed by local educational agencies (LEAs) to increase the achievement of students at risk of dropping out of school.

E-Rate Provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access.

Title 1 Federal funding that provides financial assistance to LEAs and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.

Financial Evaluation – Cost Savings

Costs savings related to implementing CEP are important considerations. Campuses that elect CEP do not incur unpaid meal charges. CEP may also result in efficiencies for Child Nutrition staff as eligibility determinations for meals no longer have to be made.

Tip: Determine the savings the contracting entity (CE) will have if CEP is implemented. This includes staff hours, printing costs, and other costs associated with processing applications.

Resources

CEP calculation worksheet

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