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Reimbursement & Funding

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Reimbursement Rates

Sponsors are reimbursed for meals served to students that meet meal pattern requirements. Each month, sponsors must submit claims for reimbursement in the CO Nutrition Portal. View claim due dates View instructions on how to claim school meals and how to claim summer meals.

Grants & Awards Information

CDE Office of Grants Program Administration is dedicated to enhancing school improvement through federal and state grant opportunities. Education professionals can find detailed information on grants, awards, and other relevant opportunities available through various CDE offices.

Additionally, the Grants and Awards Forecast is updated regularly to reflect current and upcoming funding and award opportunities. Current opportunities, links to specific program information, Requests for Applications, and recorded webinars are available. The forecast also highlights due dates, available funding, and eligibility criteria, as well as contact information for each program.

Other Available Grants and Funding:

School Food Authorities (SFAs) are encouraged to apply for grant funding or utilize available funding to support program innovation, expand access to meals and improve program quality. Current funding opportunities are listed below:

USDA Equipment Grant

The School Nutrition Unit competitively awards U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Equipment Assistance Grants to eligible school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program. These funds allow SFAs to:

  • Serve healthier school meals that meet the meal patterns with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables.
  • Improve food safety.
  • Support the establishment, maintenance, or expansion of the School Breakfast Program.

Details on the next round of funding will be released in fall 2024. 

 For questions, contact Diane Matthews at at 720-595-8042.

Local Food Program (LFP)

The Local Food Program (LFP) Pilot has been extended for School Year 2024-25. The LFP offers eligible Child Nutrition Sponsors funding for the purchase of Colorado grown, raised, or processed products. The intent of this funding is to encourage local purchases and off-set the cost of Colorado grown, raised, processed, and value-added products. This is a competitive process and sponsors must apply for funding. All sponsors operating Healthy School Meals for All, as well as individual charter school sites, residential and facility schools, are eligible to apply. The amount of funding sponsors will receive is dependent upon the number of school lunches provided during school year 2023-24 multiplied by a minimum of $0.05, or a minimum of $1,000, whichever is greater. Approximately $500,000 is available for the 2024-25 school year. Sponsors are ineligible to participate in the pilot extension if more than 2,150,000 lunches are served in the 2023-24 school year.

Application Instructions 

Program Resources 

Wages and Stipends

Through the Healthy School Meals for All Program, eligible SFAs have the option to receive a minimum of $3,000 or $0.12 per school lunch served in previous school year to provide wage increases or stipends to employees that directly prepare and serve SBP/NSLP meals. Sponsors can use the Wages & Stipends Estimator Tool (New!) to see anticipated award amounts. 

Disclaimer: The Wages and Stipends program implementation has been delayed for the 24-25 school year.

Supply Chain Assistance Funds

Supply chain assistance funds are distributed to school food authorities to purchase unprocessed or minimally processed domestic food products (also referred to as commodities) to help SFAs deal with challenges, such as unanticipated cancellation of food and supply contracts, reduced availability of certain foods, unexpected substitution of certain products, unpredictable increases in food and supply prices, and other obstacles related to pricing and/or availability.


Local Food for Schools Cooperative Grant (LFS)

The CDE School Nutrition Unit received funding through the USDA Local Food for Schools Cooperative Grant. These funds will be sub-awarded to districts in the form of reimbursements for local food purchases of unprocessed or minimally processed food that is grown, raised, produced, aggregated, stored or distributed within Colorado or 400 miles from production to destination. This funding will allow school food authorities to increase the quality and nutrition of school meals, and support local and regional food systems, further benefiting student health and educational outcomes.

To participate in this program and fund local food purchases, follow these steps: 

  • Complete the opt-in form
  • View the webinar recording for more information about the grant
  • Complete the tracker for all purchases throughout the life cycle of the grant (sponsors will receive the tracker after you submit the opt-in form)
  • Purchase from socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and small businesses whenever possible
  • Submit a completed tracker by the 15th of the month following the end of the quarter. CDE will submit for reimbursement on your behalf

Districts that received a grant award letter for the Colorado Local Food Purchasing Program (HB-1132) for School Year 2022-23, must expend those funds first before the Local Food for School Cooperative Grant funds can be requested.

For more information, view the FAQ document. For questions, email 

Grant Opportunities

Sponsors are encouraged to apply for grant funding to support program innovation, expand access to meals and improve program quality. Recurring funding opportunities and grant writing resources are listed below.

Grant Resources