ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : FIN-06-067

Date Created : 04/05/2006


Co-op Directors
other: Child Nutrition Directors

Type of Memo: Regulatory
Response Required: No
Section:   Fiscal and Administrative Services - Dr. Bobbie Davis, Assistant Commissioner
Direct Certification Program - Free Meal Eligibility

Regulatory Authority:
7 CFR Part 245.6(b), Part 245.11

Contact Person:
Missy Harris

Phone Number:



Direct certification, as defined by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, allows school food authorities to determine children eligible for free meals based on eligibility for food stamps. Regulations also allow a computerized list as documentation of eligibility. This list will replace the application for free meals and will eliminate the verification of applications for all children determined eligible by direct certification.


1. All Arkansas school districts will participate in direct certification process of eligible students.
2. School districts using the PENTAMATION SYSTEM for student data will NOT be required to submit student data on disks. The Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) are working with Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) to pull the student data automatically for the matching process.
3. The following school districts do not submit data through Pentamation and WILL BE required to submit all student data using the Direct Certification Procedures listed below by no later than May 15, 2006:

Lake Hamilton School District
Little Rock School District
North Little Rock School District
Pulaski County School District

DIRECT CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES (for school districts that CANNOT be pulled by Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN), as listed in number 3 above)

In order for CNU, ADE to provide a direct certification list for each school in the district, the district must submit the 2006-2007 required information for each school by May 15, 2006. This information must be provided on IBM compatible 3-inch computer diskette(s). The diskette(s) must be 1.44 density. The district file may be sent by email to Missy Harris at If a file is emailed, it must contain the information and be in the same layout as described in this memo. PLEASE PUT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT NAME IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF THE EMAILED FILE. If this is sent by email, please follow up with a phone call to Missy Harris at 501.324.9502 to ensure that it was received. Mail diskette to:

Attn: Missy Harris
Arkansas Department of Education
Child Nutrition Unit
2020 W. 3rd Street, Ste. 404
Little Rock, AR 72205-4465

Guidelines for Preparing Diskette or E-mail:

A. Social Security numbers with birth dates must be accurate for each student. Social Security numbers with less than 9 digits need not be sent. The social security number must belong to the student, not the student's parent. If social security numbers are not available, please use the student ID numbers provided by the Department of Education.
B. Please make every attempt to remove any student no longer enrolled in the school(s), for example, graduates and transferred students.
C. Replace quote signs " " around nicknames and street names with parentheses (). Quote signs should only be at the beginning of a field and at the end of the field. See example below:

INCORRECT CODING: "John "Corky", "Smith", "125"G"Street", "City", "State"
CORRECT CODING: "John (Corky) Smith", "125 G Street", "City", "State"

D. The files must be an ASCII file, with quotes and comma delimited. CNU, ADE cannot accept typed or handwritten listings, only diskettes or email attachments.

The file that will be created from the submitted text file(s) is as follows:

Field 1: *School LEA number - Required (must be 7 digits)
Must be the school the student will attend for the 2006-2007 school year.
Field 2: Social Security number Required (must be 9 digits)
Field 3: Last name - Required (up to 25 characters)
Field 4: First name - Required (up to 25 characters)
Field 5: Address - If Provided (up to 20 characters)
Field 6: City - If Provided (up to 20 characters)
Field 7: State - If Provided (2 characters)
Field 8: Zip Code - If Provided (9 digits, ex. 72203 s/b 722030000)
Field 9: Birth date - Required (must be 6 digits, ex. Feb. 24, 2001 s/b 022401)
Field 10: Parents names - If Provided (up to 40 characters)
Field 11: **Grade - Required (must be 2 digits, ex. 1st grade = 01; if grade is letter, use 99)

* School LEA numbers must be used to identify files. Please ensure that the LEA number is correct.

**Grade should be the level the student will be in during the 2006-2007 school year, not the grade for the current school year.


E. If the name field exceeds the field length, the information in that field will be shortened on the district report. Please keep in mind that only the students with valid social security numbers and valid birth dates will be used in the matching operation at the Department of Human Services.

After the diskette is created, please open it to make sure that it contains the records, i.e. open "chldnut.dat". Please review the data for mistakes within each field. As a precaution, please keep a district copy of the file that is sent to CNU.


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