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Paid Lunch Equity and Meal Charge Policy Guidance


The California Department of Education (CDE) Management Bulletin SNP-02-2021: Paid Lunch Equity Exemption Guidance has been updated to clarify Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) requirements with the implementation of the California Universal Meals Program.

School food authorities (SFA) that do not charge students for paid lunches at all sites are considered non-pricing sites and are exempt from PLE requirements in accordance with U.S. Department of Agriculture Policy Memo SP 39-2011 - Revised External link opens in new window or tab.. Therefore, if an SFA operates all sites on the California Universal Meals Program or a Federal Provision, such as Provision 2 or the Community Eligibility Provision, PLE requirements do not apply.

In addition, a meal charge policy will no longer be required from SFAs in which all sites are non-pricing. Therefore, if an SFA operates all sites on the California Universal Meals Program or a Federal Provision, a meal charge policy is not required. An updated meal charge policy management bulletin is forthcoming.

Management Bulletins are available on the CDE Nutrition Services Management Bulletin web page at School Nutrition Programs Management Bulletins - School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education).

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the CDE Nutrition Services Division Resource Management Unit by email at snpcafefundquestions@cde.ca.gov

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 21, 2022
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