|Submitted||April 13, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
I. Requested Records
I am filing a Freedom of Information Act request for any spreadsheets or databases maintained by or in the possession of the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service that indicate the Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) that are participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), Provision 2, or Provision 3 for the 2017-2018 school year. In particular, I am looking for records that indicate if LEAs have opted in district-wide.
I would prefer the request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not. For databases, please export to a spreadsheet file, ideally in XLS or CSV format. Please produce the records on a rolling basis; at no point should the search for – or deliberation concerning – certain records delay the production of others that the agency has already retrieved and elected to produce.
II. Request for a Fee Waiver
I respectfully request that you waive all fees in connection with this request as provided by 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The Sierra Club is a national environmental nonprofit with no commercial interest in obtaining the requested information. Instead, our organization intends to analyze and disseminate the requested information free of charge so that the public can have a single location to identify school districts that offer free meals to students. We intend to add this information to a larger project examining unpaid meal charge policies in school districts nationwide.
The subject matter of the requested records is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government by disclosing where federal funds are being spent in local schools to provide free meals. This will help explain ways that the government can help families avoid unpaid meal debt and lunch shaming in schools.
The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area by sending tens of thousands of letters to Congress about lunch shaming and anti-hunger programs.
III. Media Requester Status
In addition to the public interest fee waiver, I ask to be properly categorized as a representative of the news media. The bulk of my professional duties at the Sierra Club entails planning and writing content about public policy, including composing mass communications to our followers, analyzing FOIA responses, and coordinating press outreach. I have previously written about the federal government's work to reorganize its staff:
This work, supplemented by Freedom of Information Act requests, was covered in major media outlets:
The Sierra Club has the ability and intention to disseminate the information it receives through this request. The information may be shared through emails to an audience reaching into the millions, Facebook and Twitter posts reaching tens of thousands of followers, articles on our often-visited website, and analysis provided to the media.
In the event that there are fees, please inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. Please also include an explanation of why I was not granted the fee waivers and/or reductions.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.
P.S. If you have any questions about my request, I prefer being contacted through the email address listed in my submission, but I am willing to talk directly by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (415-977-5739) if needed.
To Whom It May Concern:
I'm following up on the following Freedom of Information Act request, copied below, and originally submitted on April 13, 2018. You had previously indicated that it would be completed on May 11, 2018. I wanted to check on the status of my request, and to see if there was a new estimated completion date. You had assigned it reference number #2018-FNS-03538-F.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
This is in response to your FOIA request below dated April 13, 2018 and received in our office on April 16, 2018. Your request was assigned tracking # 2018-FNS-03538-F and reviewed by the Child Nutrition Program. In response to your request, USDA already provides a CEP web page (https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/community-eligibility-provision) that has a State map with links to each State agency website containing this data located at https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/community-eligibility-provision-status-school-districts-and-schools-state. In addition, FRAC also provides a CEP database at http://frac.org/research/resource-library/community-eligibility-cep-database. USDA is not the source if the data as we link to the State agency websites. Hopefully this will provide you with the most up-to-date information available.
You have the right to appeal this determination. You may appeal by writing to the Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service at 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302 or by email to FOIA@fns.usda.gov within 90 calendar days from the date of this letter. The phrase “FOIA APPEAL” should be placed in capital letters on the front of the envelope or in the subject of the email containing the appeal.
For dispute resolution services, you may contact the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). The Open Government Act of 2007 created OGIS within the National Archives and Records Administration when Congress amended the FOIA. OGIS provides mediation of FOIA disputes between appellants and Federal agencies. Participation in mediation does not affect your right to judicial review. Contact information for OGIS can be located at: www.Archives.gov/ogis.
If you have any questions pertaining to this request or the FOIA process you may contact us at 703-605-0773 or by email at FOIA@fns.usda.gov.
FNS FOIA and Privacy Act Officer
Information Management Office
USDA Food and Nutrition Service