School Nutrition Programs Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) tool now available

The school year 2017 Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) tool has been released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and can be downloaded from the Child Nutrition website here.

Completing this tool is an annual requirement for School Nutrition Programs under Section 205 of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The purpose of this tool is to determine if the amount charged for paid meal prices is equal to or greater than the funds brought in from federal reimbursement for free meals.

The PLE tool is not required to be completed for schools that participate in special provisions, do not charge students for lunch, are a Residential Child Care Institution (RCCI), or already charge the weighted average of $2.78 for paid lunch. Districts new to the National School Lunch Program must charge the weighted average price set by the USDA.

Once completed, the tool will be submitted electronically to the Maine Department of Education’s Child Nutrition team, along with the Annual Participation forms, by August 15. The completed tool must be saved for your annual audit as well as for use when completing the SY 2018 version.

For more information, contact Child Nutrition Specialist Sarah Platt at or call 624-6879.