Act 30 of the First Extraordinary Session of 2006 required the State Board of Education (SBE) to establish by rule a list of approved programs and purposes for which National School Lunch Act Funds (NSLA) may be expended. Those rules are on the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) web page at http://arkansased.org/. Current rules are listed alphabetically and the NSLA rules are included with “Student Special Needs Funding” in section 6.00. Specific program codes are included in the Financial Accounting Manual for the purpose of tracking NSLA expenditures according to the list of approved programs and purposes.
Act 30 permits school districts to use NSLA funds to supplement salaries for classroom teachers only to the extent those funds were being used to supplement salaries for classroom teachers as of January 1, 2006. It also requires that NSLA funds not be used to meet the minimum salary schedule in § 6-17-2403. In other words, if NSLA funds were being used for across the board raises for classroom teachers as of January 1, 2006, then a district could continue to use NSLA funds to supplement the salaries of classroom teachers as long as the NSLA funded portion of the salaries is over and above the minimum salary schedule requirement. However, Act 30 only permits this use of NSLA funds through June 30, 2007. Districts have been instructed to use program code 014 for NSLA expenditures that supplement the salaries for classroom teachers. However, there could be other uses of program code 014 as well. Therefore, it has not been possible to report the total amount of NSLA funds expended for the purpose of supplementing the salaries above the minimum requiremment for classroom teachers.
The 86th General Assembly is currently considering legislation that would allow the use of NSLA funds for supplementing the salaries of classroom teachers to continue. If that legislation is enacted, beginning July 1, 2007, all NSLA expenditures that supplement the salaries of classroom teachers must be coded to program code 015. Based on the definition in § 6-17-2402, classroom teachers include:
a. Individuals required to hold a teaching license from
the Department of Education and who are engaged directly in
instruction with students in a classroom setting for more
than seventy percent (70%) of the individual’s contracted
b. A guidance counselor; or
c. A librarian.
In summary, if the practice of using NSLA funds for supplementing the salaries of classroom teachers is allowed to continue after June 30, 2007, program code 015 must be used for those NSLA expenditures.