Interpretation's Date: December 27, 2004
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: III. County Educational Administration
December 27, 2004
Sarah Lee Brown
Dear Ms. Brown:
I am in receipt of your request for an interpretation regarding the use of Title I funds to provide meals and snacks in various settings.
Specifically, you ask:
1. Is it appropriate to use funds for lunch for teachers who are attending staff development on a regular work day?
2. Is it appropriate to use funds for dinner for teachers attending staff development after work hours but not overnight in their county?
3. Is it appropriate to use funds for snacks for teachers attending
staff development during the regular work day?
5. If the answer to any of the above is yes, then is it appropriate to use any funds or only certain funds? If only certain funds, what are those funds?
In researching your questions, I looked first to the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Cost Principles Circular A-87, which establishes principles and standards for determining costs for Federal awards carried out through grants, cost reimbursement contracts, and other agreements with State and local governments. OMB Circular A-87, Attachment B, Number 14 states:
Costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any costs directly associated with such costs (such as tickets to shows or sports events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, and gratuities) are unallowable.
However, OMB Circular A-87, Attachment B, Number 27 states:
Costs of meetings and conferences, the primary purpose of which is the dissemination of technical information, are allowable. This includes costs of meals, transportation, rental of facilities, speakers' fees, and other items incidental to such meetings or conferences.
Additionally, the United States Department of Education's non-regulatory guidance document titled Use of Funds (April 1996), which remains in force under the No Child Left Behind Act, states, in Q16 regarding the use of Title I Part A funds:
The costs for staff travel and conferences are allowable if the travel and conferences are specifically related to the Part A program and not to the general needs of the LEA or school and are reasonably necessary.
This guidance goes on to provide, in Q17, that "reasonable expenditures for refreshments of food" may be provided during parent meetings or training, "particularly when such sessions extend through mealtime."
However, in making a final determination as to these issues, we must look to state legal requirements regarding the expenditure of public funds. Pursuant to advice received from the Office of the Attorney General in 1987, the Department of Education has consistently advised that a county board of education is not authorized to expend public or quasi-public funds for meals which are solely for school officials, administrators, faculty and other personnel.
Nonetheless, it has been deemed permissible and appropriate for a county board of education to reasonably expend Title I funds for food to be provided during parental involvement functions, particularly when such sessions extend through mealtime.
Hoping that I have been of service, I am