The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) promotes relationships and enhances partnerships that provide quality nutrition education and nutrition services for the people of North Dakota. NDDPI in accordance with the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), administers child nutrition and food distribution programs. A partnership of federal, state, and local agencies provides nutrition services and food assistance to students, young children, and adults.
North Dakota Legislation for the 2023-2024 School Year
- Scenario: Our school pays for seconds for all students. we have a policy that kids cannot have seconds if they have an overdue lunch balance. Is this policy in violation of HB 1494?
- No, this would not be a violation of HB 1494. It only refers to reimbursable breakfasts or lunches. Students may be denied ala carte or second entrée options if they don’t have money in their meal account.
SECTION 17. APPROPRIATION - DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION - GRANTS FOR FREE MEALS.
There is appropriated out of any moneys in the general fund in the state treasury, not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $6,000,000, or so much of the sum as may be necessary, to the department of public instruction for the purpose of providing grants to school districts to defray the expenses of providing meals, free of charge, for all students enrolled in public or nonpublic school at or below two hundred percent of the federal poverty guideline, for the biennium beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2025. The superintendent of public instruction shall develop guidelines and reporting requirements for the grants.
State Free 200 Marketing Materials
Links to other States information
- Washington State: Great site with flyers and social media posts in different languages: Meal Application and Verification Information | OSPI (www.k12.wa.us)
- Los Angeles Unified School District: Implements a concentrated marketing effort each year to collect school meal applications. They call their application a ‘Household Income Form’ (HIF). Find flyers, phone call scripts, confidentiality talking points and parent letters: More than a Meal (MTAM) / More than a Meal - School CEP Principal Toolkit (lausd.org)
- No Kid Hungry.org has scoured the internet for ideas on increasing free/reduced participation. There are some school districts that have unleashed the creativity of their student graphic design class to create posters, flyers and videos that point parents to the school meal applications. Find the many examples along with a checklist here: School Meals Applications Outreach Toolkit (adobe.com)
- When does the eligibility begin?
- The funding for this program starts with the new state biennium. Therefore, the program will start on July 1, 2023.
- Do students who qualify for State Free qualify for P-EBT?
- No, P-EBT and the future Summer EBT benefits qualify based on Federal income guidelines only.
- If a student with a negative meal account balance qualifies for State Free, will this clear the meal account balance to $0?
- No, all meal charges incurred before eligibility will continue with the student meal account until the household pays the amount owed or the school district settles the account with non-federal funds.
- How will State Free affect schools that have implemented the CEP or Provision 1, 2, or 3 programs in North Dakota?
- Schools that are using CEP or Provision rules should see no difference in the counting or claiming process. All students in these programs are served meals free. Claiming percentages will remain the same as the last base year that was identified as these are federal guidelines.
- How does State Free 200 affect households that are receiving other benefits from the school based on eligibility, ie. Reduced athletic fees, free bussing, instrument rentals, and computer insurance programs.
- A. Each school will decide whether they will include State Free in their benefits.
- How will I account for the State Free reimbursement in the Nonprofit School Food Service Account?
- A. Similar to the current state reimbursement for reduced-price breakfast. It should be coded to 3950.
- I use PrimeroEdge for all my F/R apps. Will PrimeroEdge figure out who qualifies for state or federal free meals?
- Yes, Primero Edge will have the new qualifying guidelines installed in their software.
- With the 30-day carryover in the fall, do we need to go change all our reduced students to exempt for those 30 days?
- No, this will only apply to new applicants
- Will we be able to find the CFDA number and breakdown of funding when we receive the funding? This ends up on our SEFA so we need to properly record the funds in our accounting system.
- CFDA are Federal numbers only. The new State Free reimbursement will appear separately on the DPI payment report and should be coded to 3950.
- What price do I charge the students this year?
Reduced Price Eligible
State Free Eligible
- Reduced Breakfast is free but isn't lunch $.40 per meal?
- Reduced Lunch will be at no cost for students who qualify for reduced meals. The State of ND will pay the .40 fee for reduced-price students. Schools should continue to claim those meals in the reduced category.
- Are all students free this year?
- No. Only students who qualify under the 200% poverty level qualify for free meals.
- How do I determine the price I charge the adults this year?
- Adult meal price will be determined the same way it has been in the past. For non-pricing schools, the adult meal cost must be equal to or higher than the reimbursement received for a free meal plus the value of commodities received for the meal. For a pricing school, the adult meal must be equal to or higher than the highest student meal price plus the amount of reimbursement received for a paid student meal plus the value of commodities received for the meal. For a helpful tool to calculate the adult meal price, please go to the Child Nutrition and Food Distribution website to find it under the School Nutrition Program tab and Reimbursement Rates & Pricing.
- Will the State Free students qualify the school for Title funds?
- No. State Free students should not be counted as eligible for Title Funds.
- Which Income Eligibility Guidelines will I use for determining eligibility this year?
- Please download the North Dakota Extended Income Eligibility guidelines to use for the school year 2023 – 2024. You will see three distinct sections of eligibilities – the normal Federal Free, Federal Reduced Price, and the additional State Free sections.
- Best Practice: Do a confirming review of all of your applications this year!
- How do families qualify for State Free eligibility?
- Families will qualify for the State Free by filling out the normal Application for Free and Reduced-Price School Meals. The school then has the responsibility to determine at what eligibility level the household may or may not qualify using the North Dakota Extended Income Eligibility table.
- I use computer-based application software. How do I get the State Free added to the eligibility determination?
- The school is responsible for contacting the computer software company to add the State Free eligibility determination and North Dakota Extended Income Eligibility table to the software. If the school is using PrimeroEdge as the application software, the State has contacted the company and they are working on the update for their software.
- I use a computer-based point of sale (POS) and meal-counting software. How do I get the State Free eligibility determination added so the claims are correct?
- A. The school is responsible for contacting the computer software company to add the State Free eligibility. Power Lunch users will use the “Exempt” category for State Free students.
- Are there other states that have implemented a partiall free system?
- Yes, Oregon went with 300% poverty last year. New Jersey will implement a 199% poverty with us this fall.
- Can I claim a State Free in after-school snack program?
- No. SB2284 only appropriated funding for breakfast and lunch.
- When can I send out applications?
- July 1, 2023, is the first date you can accept any applications.
- Does DPI have a sample letter that we can send to all of our families with this information as an incentive to apply? I see there's a household letter, but it would be nice to have something with an explanation for the parents.
- DPI will have a sample letter on its website.
- When we send the letter on how they qualify.....if they qualify for reduced, they qualify for state free......do we check both boxes?
- Only one eligibility should be checked. Households will receive the eligibility status of the lowest level they qualify for. Households with incomes between 186% and 200% of the federal poverty level would qualify for State Free. Those households with incomes between 131% and 185% of the poverty level will qualify for reduced price eligibility.
- If a family qualifies for the reduced-price eligibility, you would only check the “Approved for Free meals based on Federal Free or Reduced price guidelines.” The state is only paying the .30 fee for breakfast and the .40 fee for lunch for reduced-price meals.
- Rollover 'reduced' kids will be 'free' for the first 30 days, not reduced price just to clarify?
- That is correct for breakfast and lunch. The Afterschool Snack program is not covered by the State Free program so reduced-price snacks will remain at whatever pricing the school has set for those snacks. ($.15 is the most that a reduced-price snack can be priced at.) Please remember to set the pricing on the school meal point of sale to $0 for free, reduced price, and state-free eligible meals at breakfast and lunch.
- When we enter prices into Power Lunch, we will enter $0 for reduced, right?
- That is correct, the point-of-sale software, Power Lunch will need to be updated for the coming school year with the correct pricing scale. Please do this as soon as possible so you are ready for the new school year.
- We have families that need a translation of the free and reduced-price meal application. Does the State provide those applications?
- The State has not invested in translating the application or household letter and instruction page as these resources are provided by USDA in 49 different languages. Please access and download these resources in the language(s) that are required at your school from
- Translated Applications | Food and Nutrition Service (usda.gov) https://www.fns.usda.gov/cn/translated-applications
- When a family submits an application that is in a different language, how will we track whether this family is eligible for State Free?
- The USDA prototype application is used in all the languages available from the USDA Translated Application website. North Dakota’s application is based on the prototype with the exception that the portion that is for School Use Only has been moved from the second page to the front and includes the State Free eligibility.
- All other information that the household enters is the same. The last 4 digits of the Social Security Number and the signature of the adult submitting the application are still required on the translated applications.
- Income values and the number of household members should be easy to figure out from any application. Use the North Dakota Expanded Income Eligibility guidelines to determine the eligibility level for the household. If the family qualifies for the State Free income eligibility, the School should make a note on the application or attach a note to the application to indicate that eligibility, since it is not included on the USDA prototype translated applications. The School is responsible for identifying in some way at what level the application was determined, who did the determination and the date the determination was made, and eligibility made available to the student(s) at the point of sale.
- What category should I set the State Free eligibility in Power Lunch?
- Use the “Exempt” category for any student who qualifies for free meals under the new Expanded Eligibility Guidelines.
CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAMS
FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMS
RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES
In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.
To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ad-3027.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
(833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.