Fall 2014 - Low Income Measure

  • Summary Highlights

    Background

    • The Low Income Measure is used for many different purposes and the State methodology has changed beginning in FY2013 for allocation of funds, reporting, and accountability purposes.  

    • Eligibility for Free and Reduced Price lunch, through the National School Lunch Program, had been the traditional proxy for local educational agencies (districts and charter schools) and their school’s low income. This has also been used to determine low income status for most if not all other purposes.

    • With the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National School Lunch Program now includes a Provision called the “Community Eligibility Provision” or CEP. Schools that elect CEP serve breakfast and lunch for free to all enrolled students.

    • Within the last four years, the changes in the USDA programs have affected how schools determine which students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches. With these changes, the ability to determine individual student status is no longer possible in all districts and schools.

    • While USDA administers the National School Lunch Program, state and local education agencies have used the meal eligibility status to carry out certain Title I requirements based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Education under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

      These include:

      • Ranking schools based on the percentage of economically disadvantaged students to determine eligibility to receive funds,

      • Allocating the funds,

      • Calculating the amount provided to eligible private school students, and

      • Assessing and annually reporting the extent to which economically disadvantaged students are making progress toward the State academic standards in reading or language arts and mathematics.

    USDA Changes [1]

    • Community Eligibility (CEP) was made available to all states beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

    • Community Eligibility (CEP) schools use only “direct certification” data, such as data from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to determine the Federal cash reimbursement for school lunches provided under USDA. They do not administer or collect the meal benefit eligibility form.

    • A school is eligible for CEP if at least 40% of its students are “directly certified”, that is, identified for free meals through means other than the meal benefit eligibility form.

    • Community Eligibility represents a means to both increase child nutrition and reduce burden at the district, school and household levels.

    Current DDOE Low Income Methodology

    Beginning with the 2013-14 school year and beyond, the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) is standardizing on one methodology for the Low Income Measure.

    • School Year 2013 – 2014 and beyond: Low income is determined by students who receive any one of the following benefits: TANF, SNAP (Direct Certification).

    • 2011 – 2013: Low income is determined by students who receive any one of the following benefits: TANF, SNAP, Medicaid or free or reduced lunch.

    • Prior to the 2011 School Year Low income was determined by students who were eligible to receive a free or reduced price lunch.

    Important Note: Districts and Charter schools may continue to use other Title I allowable methodologies for allocating resources within the district or charter school.



    [1] Information from “Guidance The Community Eligibility Provision and Selected Requirements Under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended” January 2014, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.