ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : IA-99-013

Date Created : 03/23/1999


Co-op Directors
other: Child Nutrition Directors

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Optional
Section:   Internal Administration - Dr. Bobbie Davis
Food Service Direct Certification

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
Louann Griswood, Larry Gray

Phone Number:


Direct Certification Program

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Child Nutrition Unit, will offer direct certification for the 1999-2000 school year. This offer is open to all public schools in Arkansas that participate in the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Program(s).

Direct certification, as defined by 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.

Categorical Eligibility Changed by Welfare Reform

In past years, students could also be directly certified for free meals based on AFDC eligibility. Federal AFDC was abolished by welfare reform and replaced by an Arkansas program. The Arkansas program, Transition Employment Assistance (TEA), has been determined to have eligibility requirements that are less restrictive than AFDC, so recipients of TEA cannot be directly certified for free meals. Many TEA recipients will also be eligible for food stamps and can be directly certified on that basis. Those who do not receive food stamps may meet the income and family size guidelines for free meals, and you will want to encourage them to complete an application. Students in food stamp households not directly certified may be determined categorically eligible if they provide their food stamp number on the application. All other students who wish to apply must provide income and family size information.

Direct Certification Procedures

To reduce the number of applications you must process, we will provide a direct certification list for each school in your district, if you provide us the 1999-2000 required information for each of your schools by June 4, 1999. This information is to be provided on IBM compatible 32 inch computer diskette. The diskettes may be high or low density. You may also create your file and e-mail it as an attachment to Larry Gray at ( If a file is e-mailed, it must contain the information and be in the same layout as described in this memo.

In the meantime, we ask you to ensure that social security numbers and birth dates are accurate for each student. 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. Please make every attempt to remove any student who is no longer enrolled in your school(s), for example, graduates and transferred students. Please replace " " around nicknames and street names with ( ). Quote signs should only be at the beginning of a field and at the end of the field.

INCORRECT CODING:"John "Corkey","Smith","125 "G" Street","xxxxx","xxx"
CORRECT CODING:"John (Corkey)","Smith", "123 G Street","xxxx","xxx"

The file, provided to us on IBM compatible diskettes, must be an ASCII file, with quotes, comma delimited. Each school must be on a separate diskette and that diskette labeled with school name and the seven (7) position school LEA number. An ASCII file is sometimes referred to as a text file (xxxx.txt). We cannot accept typed or handwritten listings, only diskettes and e-mail attachments.

To explain what an ASCII file with quotes and comma delimited means, take the example of John Doe, social security number of 999-11-8888, birth date April 15, 1986, parents= name of Father and Mother Doe, next year=s grade 04 and Jane Doe, social security number 888-99-7777, birth date June 23, 1983, parents= name of Father and Mother Doe, next year=s grade 09. Both students are enrolled in school LEA number 7701001. On the diskette you send to us, each field should be surrounded by quotes and each field should be separated by commas.

There is not a comma after the last field for the student. The data for John Doe and Jane Doe would appear on the diskette as follows:

"7701001","999-11-8888","Doe","John","P.O. Box XXX","Sometown","AR","99999","041586","Father & Mother Doe","04"
"7701001","888-99-7777","Doe","Jane","P.O. Box XXX","Sometown","AR","99999","062383","Father & Mother Doe","09"

Social Security numbers may or may not contain dashes. We prefer that they do not.
Birth dates may or may not contain dashes or slashes.

The file which we will create from your submitted text file(s) is as follows:

NAME………………………....LENGTH (A=ALPHA)

* LEA number…………………A7 - Required
Social security number………...A9 - Required (if dashes are included we remove them)
Last name………………………A25 - Required
First name………………………A25 - Required
Address…………………………A20 - If provided
City …………………………….A20 - If provided
State ……………………………A2 - If provided
Zip Code ……………………….A10 - If provided
Birth date ………………………A6 - Required (if dashes or slashes are included we remove them)
Parents names…….…………….A40 - If provided
** Grade….…………………….A2 - Required

* LEA number - if this information is in your file, it should contain the LEA number of the school the student will attend during the 1999-2000 school year. If the LEA number is not in your file, we will insert the LEA number of the school whose name and LEA number is written on the diskette. If the information is not in your file, and you write the LEA number on the diskette, you must ensure that it is correct.

** Grade - this should contain the grade the student will be in during the 1999-2000 school year, not the grade for the current school year.

Many of you have files in which the students= first and last names are in the same field and the address, city, state, and zip are in the same field. We can handle this situation, but if it exceeds the field length, the information in that field will be shortened on your report.

Social Security Number and Grades must be in fields by themselves.

For those who use the School Administrator software:
Copy your STUDENT.IMD file onto a diskette and send it to us.

For those who use OSCAR software:
Use the instructions you used last year. These instructions pertain to creating a diskette from your Student Demographic File. If you do not have the instructions, contact Larry Gray at the Child Nutrition Unit, (501) 324-9502.

For those of you who use TSA software:
You may have the necessary files already in your c:\TSA directory. If you need directions, contact Larry Gray at the Child Nutrition Unit.

For those using the APSCN/Pentamation Student Management Systems software:
Please refer to instructions found at instructions will pertain to creating a diskette which only your District Student System Administrator has the privilege to run. The student=s Social Security Number must be present in the Social Security Number field (even if you are using the Social Security Number as the Student ID Number). If you have questions after you receive the instructions, please contact the APSCN Student Help Desk at 1-800-850-5649.

For those who utilize software other than those systems mentioned above:
If your file has social security number and birth date, export this file, with any other information listed above, to an ASCII type file and send it to us.

Please keep in mind that only those students with valid social security numbers and valid birth dates will be used in the matching operation at the Department of Human Services.

We will accept your diskettes as soon as they are available. If you cannot meet the June 4, 1999 deadline, contact us to see if an extension can be granted. Contact Louann Griswood at (501) 324-9502 if you have any questions regarding the direct certification process. You may e-mail Louann at or Larry Gray at

Return diskette to:

Attn: Larry Gray
Arkansas Department of Education
Child Nutrition Unit
Executive Building, Suite 404
2020 West 3rd Street
Little Rock, AR 72205-4465



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