School districts that have met the needs of students for whom special needs categorical funding is provided (Alternative Learning Environment, English Language Learners, Secondary Vocational Area Center, National School Lunch Act), may use remaining or “excess” National School Lunch Act (NSLA) funds as a bonus to the salary of classroom teachers upon approval of the Commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education (Commissioner). Any excess NSLA funds used as a bonus to supplement the salaries of classroom teachers shall only be used as a non-recurring bonus to a classroom teacher’s salary and shall not be considered a permanent obligation of the school district under the district’s teacher salary schedule or as a contract obligation.
Section 6.11 of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Rules Governing the Distribution of Student Special Needs Funding and the Determination of Allowable Expenditures of Those Funds (Rules), dated September 2007, contains the requirements and conditions school districts must meet in order to use excess NSLA funds as a bonus to all classroom teacher salaries. In addition to the detailed plan specified in Rules Section 22.214.171.124.4 to be included with the district’s Arkansas Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (ACSIP), the district must complete the attached form “Request to Use Excess NSLA Funds as a Bonus” and mail it to the Commissioner as soon as possible. The Rules set a March 31 deadline for submitting this information. However, that deadline does not allow time for districts to amend the ACSIP, if needed. Please also include a copy of the section of the ASCIP describing the use of NSLA funds for a bonus. No school district shall use NSLA funds to pay a bonus to classroom teachers without first obtaining the express written approval of the Commissioner.
Expenditures using excess NSLA funds as a bonus should be coded to a budget unit containing program code 015.
The Rules are available at: