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H.R. 2690 (111th): School Meal Enhancement Act of 2009

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 3, 2009 (Introduced).


I

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2690

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 3, 2009

(for himself and Mr. Braley of Iowa) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor

A BILL

To create a universal, paperless school meal program that is nationally available.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the School Meal Enhancement Act of 2009.

2.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Eligible School

The term eligible school means any school that is—

(A)

eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751) and the National School Breakfast Program established under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.);

(B)

meets the participation threshold described in section 3(a); and

(C)

agrees to provide free meals to all enrolled students through the school-wide paperless free school meal program.

(2)

Estimated eligibility rate

The term estimated eligibility rate means the percentage of a school’s enrolled students eligible for free or reduced price meals under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.) and the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) determined—

(A)

in accordance with the guidance issued by the Secretary under section 3(a)(2)(B)(ii); or

(B)

through a method for determining the number of students eligible for free or reduced price meals approved within the last 4 years under section 18(c) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769(c)).

(3)

School-wide paperless Free School meal program

The term school-wide paperless free school meal program means a program to provide, to all enrolled students in a participating school, without requiring the use of paper applications to determine eligibility for—

(A)

free or reduced price school breakfasts under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.); and

(B)

free or reduced price school lunches under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

(4)

Local educational agency

The term local educational agency has the meaning given such term under section 12 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760).

(5)

Participating School

The term participating school means an eligible school that has been selected to participate in the school-wide paperless free school meal program by its local educational agency in accordance with the guidance issued under section 3(a).

(6)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.

3.

The School-Wide Paperless Free School Meal Program

(a)

Duties of the Secretary

(1)

Program implementation

Not later than the July 1 following date of publication of the final guidance issued under this subsection, the Secretary shall implement the school-wide paperless free school meal program in accordance with the requirements of this Act.

(2)

Guidance

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register and post on the website of the Department of Agriculture—

(i)

not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, for comment draft guidance for local educational agencies and participating schools on the requirements for carrying out the school-wide paperless free price school meal program; and

(ii)

not later than 9 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, final guidance for carrying out such program.

(B)

Requirements of the guidance

(i)

Participation threshold

The Secretary shall issue guidance that describes how a local educational agency shall demonstrate to the Secretary that an eligible school meets the participation threshold of—

(I)

at least 65 percent estimated eligibility rate for free meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.); or

(II)

at least 75 percent estimated eligibility rate for free and reduced price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

(ii)

Guidance on Estimated Eligibility rate

The Secretary shall issue guidance that establishes an alternate, paperless method of determining an estimated eligibility rate. In issuing such guidance, the Secretary shall balance cost-effectiveness with obtaining an accurate estimated eligibility rate and take into account—

(I)

the number of students who are certified as eligible for free meals under section 9(b)(4) of the Richard B. Russell School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1758(b)(4)) at each eligible school;

(II)

the number of students determined to be eligible for free or reduced price meals at each eligible school within the last 3 years on the basis of completed household applications (as defined in section 9(b)(3)(A) of the Richard B. Russell School Lunch Act 1758(b)(3)(A));

(III)

the most recent income and poverty data available from reliable data sources, including—

(aa)

income and poverty statistics provided by the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program of the Bureau of the Census of the Department of Commerce;

(bb)

data provided by the American Community Survey of the Bureau of the Census of the Department of Commerce;

(cc)

determinations under section 1124(c)(2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C. 6333(c)(2));

(dd)

data from other Federal, State, or local means-tested programs, such as the supplemental nutrition assistance program established under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) or the State Medicaid program under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.); and

(ee)

other data sources the Secretary deems to be reliable; and

(IV)

any local educational agency-wide data that the Secretary determines can be used to make statistically sound assumptions regarding the estimated eligibility rates for schools under its jurisdiction.

(iii)

Survey

The guidance issued under clause (ii) may also provide for phone and door to door sampling to be required when determining the estimated eligibility rate in order to increase the accuracy rate of the estimate. Any phone and door to door sampling requirement shall not be more than what is required for the estimated eligibility rate to reach a 95 percent statistical confidence interval about the estimate of no more than plus or minus 2 percentage points. This limitation shall not restrict local education agencies from choosing to conduct higher percentages of phone and door to door sampling.

(iv)

Evaluation of the eligibility rate

The Secretary shall issue guidance—

(I)

requiring each local educational agency participating in the program to evaluate the estimated eligibility rate at least every 4 years in each participating school; and

(II)

on how to conduct such evaluation.

(b)

Reimbursement

The reimbursement to each school food service authority of each local education agency that participates in the program under this Act shall be for each month of participation, in an amount equal to the sum of the product obtained by—

(1)

multiplying the total number lunches of served in the school lunches by—

(A)

the estimated eligibility rate of enrolled students in the school eligible for free meals; and

(B)

the special assistance factor for free lunches prescribed by the Secretary under section 11(a)(3)(A) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1759a(a)(3)(A));

(2)

multiplying the total number of breakfasts served in the school by—

(A)

the estimated eligibility rate of enrolled students in the school eligible for free meals; and

(B)

the national average payment rate for free breakfasts established under section 4(b) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773(b));

(3)

multiplying the total number of lunches served in the school by—

(A)

by the estimated eligibility rate of enrolled students in the school eligible for reduced price meals; and

(B)

by the special assistance factor for reduced price lunches established under section 11(a) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1759a(b));

(4)

multiplying the total number of breakfasts served in the school by—

(A)

the estimated eligibility rate of enrolled students in the school eligible for reduced price meals; and

(B)

the national average payment rate for reduced price breakfasts established under section 4(b) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773(b));

(5)

multiplying the number of students not eligible for free or reduced price lunches in the school by the national average payment rate for lunches established under section 4 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1753);

(6)

multiplying the number of students not eligible for free or reduced price breakfasts in the school by the national average payment rate for each breakfast served to a child not eligible for free or reduced price meals established under section 4(b) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773(b)); and

(7)

multiplying the total number of lunches served in the school by the commodity assistance rate established under section 6(c) of the Richard B. Russell School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1755(c)).

(c)

Number of students not eligible for free or reduced price lunches

The number of students not eligible for free or reduced price lunches is equal to the difference obtained by subtracting the number of free and reduced price lunches served in the school (based on the estimated eligibility rate of enrolled student eligible for free and reduce priced meals in the school) from the total number of lunches served in the school.

(d)

Number of students not eligible for free or reduced price breakfasts

The number of students not eligible for free or reduced price breakfasts is equal to the difference obtained by subtracting the number of free and reduced price breakfasts served in the school (based on the estimated eligibility rate of enrolled student eligible for free and reduce priced meals in the school) from the total number of breakfasts served in the school.

4.

Report to Congress

Not later than 2 years after implementing the program under this Act, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress that shall include—

(1)

the increase in the number of students who are eligible to receive free or reduced meals under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.) and Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) receiving such meals as a result of the program; and

(2)

recommendations for legislation to increase the number of children eligible to participate in the program, while reducing waste and cost for schools and local educational agencies, including recommendations for increasing direct certification.

5.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act.