General Guidance to Grantees
These grant funds may only be used for the school site(s) selected. ARRA grant funds may not be used to buy a different piece of equipment than what was proposed in the grant application and approved by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Renovations and construction cannot be financed by the grants, but equipment installation costs may be funded. Renovation and construction refer to fundamentally changing the physical plant, as in constructing a new wall or demolishing an existing one. Such permanent changes to the structure go beyond the acquisition of equipment, and their cost must be paid from the division's general fund, from a capital projects fund, or another resource other than the nonprofit school nutrition account. However, the alteration, rearrangement, modification, etc. of a site within the cafeteria or kitchen in order to prepare it for the installation of new equipment purchased with the ARRA grant funds is an integral part of the equipment's acquisition cost and is an allowable use of the funds.
All grant terms and conditions must be applied according to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Public Law 111-5. The ARRA includes two important provisions that are not common to most federal education programs or school nutrition programs. These provisions are incorporated in Title XVI "General Provisions" of the ARRA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidance on these provisions is:
- Buy American – Section 1605 of ARRA (Use of American Iron, Steel and Manufactured Goods). According to the USDA's guidance in Question 37 of the questions and answers document, the Buy American Act and the Buy American provision of the ARRA (Section 1605) do not apply to the purchase of equipment with ARRA equipment assistance grant funds.
- Davis-Bacon and related acts (See also 20 U.S.C. 1232b Labor Standards and Section 1606 of the ARRA) -- does apply to contracts resulting from the ARRA Equipment Assistance Grant program under certain circumstances. Federal agencies providing grants, cooperative agreements, and loans under the Recovery Act shall ensure that the standard Davis-Bacon contract clauses found in 29 CFR 5.5(a) are incorporated in any resultant covered contracts that are in excess of $2,000 for construction, alteration or repair (including painting and decorating). Contracts must include language that acknowledges that all contractors or subcontractors must pay laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. The Davis-Bacon Act directs the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to determine such locally prevailing wage rates. Contract language can be
…"Any laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors on construction, modernization, renovation, or repair projects assisted in whole or in part with ARRA funds must be paid in accordance with the prevailing wage requirements as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40 of the United States Code (commonly called Davis-Bacon and related acts)." (See also 20 U.S.C. 1232b Labor Standards and Section 1606 of the ARRA.)
Federal, state and local procurement policies and laws must be followed when purchasing the equipment. Once the procurement process is complete, the purchase order (PO) and/or contract should be issued as soon as possible in order to obligate (encumber) the funds. School divisions may begin obligating the funds immediately. You are encouraged to obligate funds by September 1, 2009. All monies must be encumbered and/or spent by September 30, 2009.
Copies of all purchase orders and/or contracts for each site and for each piece of approved equipment must be submitted to the Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition Programs by September 1, 2009. If the actual cost of the items listed on the PO and /or contract is less than the grant award amount, the school division cannot use any remaining ARRA funds to purchase other unapproved equipment. The excess funds will be held by VDOE and reallocated to other school divisions that did not initially receive funds.
Funds will be paid to divisions on a reimbursement basis. Reimbursement will only be for the actual expenses up to the award amount. Costs that exceed the grant amount will be the responsibility of the school division. School divisions may use ARRA State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) to supplement the Equipment Assistance Grant. Reimbursement must be requested using the "Request for Grant Reimbursement" spreadsheet provided. Reimbursement requests for Equipment Assistance Grant funds will not be entered into OMEGA as other ARRA grant fund requests. The completed reimbursement request must be signed by the division superintendent and submitted with the required supporting documents.
Required supporting documents include:
- purchase order and/or contracts (previously submitted by September 1, 2009)
- itemized invoices with details of the expense broken down
- receipts or vouchers of expenses
- proof of payment (i.e., copies of checks, general ledger showing payment entries, or other payment documents the division uses)
Reimbursement requests can be submitted as often as the school division pays invoices for the ARRA equipment. The Department of Education will pay all reimbursement requests through the electronic data interface (EDI) on a weekly basis based on internal approval timelines. Reimbursement requests should be sent to:
Virginia Department of Education
Office of School Nutrition Programs P. O. Box 2120
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120
Reimbursement requests may also be e-mailed if the supporting documents can be scanned and sent as an e-mail attachment. Electronic reimbursement requests should be sent to: NSLPEquipmentGrant@doe.virginia.gov
Any reimbursement request without adequate supporting documents will be delayed in processing. All requests for reimbursement must be received by VDOE no later than October 31, 2009.
The ARRA Equipment Assistance Grant funding cannot be commingled with other school nutrition funds and must be tracked and reported separately as federal funds. Any additional reporting requirements will be announced as they become available from USDA.