SB 364

  • California Senate Bill
  • 2021-2022 Regular Session
  • Introduced in Senate Feb 10, 2021
  • Senate
  • Assembly
  • Governor

Pupil meals: Free School Meals For All Act of 2021.

Abstract

(1) Existing law establishes a system of public elementary and secondary schools in this state. This system comprises local educational agencies throughout the state that provide instruction to pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, at schoolsites operated by these agencies. This bill would enact the Free School Meals For All Act of 2021. The bill would express the finding and declaration of the Legislature that no child in California should experience hunger and that every public school pupil should benefit from access to a healthy, locally procured and freshly prepared meal during the schoolday. (2) Existing law, known as the local control funding formula, uses the numbers of pupils enrolled in a school district or a charter school who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals as part of the calculation of the apportionment of state funds to be received by that school district or charter school pursuant to the formula. Existing law defines "eligible for free or reduced-price meals" for these purposes. This bill would adjust the definition of "eligible for free or reduced-price meals" to carry over the number of pupils at the school who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals from the school year in which the school applied to use a federal universal school meal provision, and to use each pupil's eligibility status in the base year to report eligibility for up to each of the following 3 school years. (3) Existing law requires each school district and county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to provide each needy pupil with one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday. This bill, commencing with the 2022–23 school year, would require a school district or county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or a charter school to provide 2 nutritiously adequate school meals free of charge during each schoolday to any pupil who requests a meal without consideration of the pupil's eligibility for a federally funded free or reduced-price meal, as specified, with a maximum of one free meal for each meal service period. The bill would require the State Department of Education to reimburse local educational agencies for all nonreimbursed expenses accrued in providing United States Department of Agriculture reimbursable meals, as specified. This provision would be operative only if the Legislature appropriates funds for its purposes. The bill would require the State Department of Education to develop and adopt regulations to implement this provision, as specified. To the extent that this provision would impose new duties on local educational agencies, it would constitute a state-mandated local program. The bill would establish a noncompetitive grant program, to be administered by the department, to cover costs incurred by local educational agencies in purchasing food produced or grown in California. The bill would specify the criteria to be used in awarding and calculating these grants. The bill would require the department to provide information to school districts and county superintendents of schools concerning the benefits of, and financial assistance for, serving public school pupils freshly prepared food purchased from California, as specified. The bill would also require the department to award grants of up to $30,000 per schoolsite on a competitive basis to school districts, county superintendents of schools, or entities approved by the department for nonrecurring expenses incurred, in order to increase the number of meals that can be prepared freshly and served to pupils, as specified. (4) Existing law requires the governing board of a school district and the county superintendent of schools to make applications for free or reduced-price meals available to pupils at all times during each regular schoolday. Existing law authorizes the governing boards of school districts and county superintendents of schools to make applications for free or reduced-price meals electronically available online. Existing law specifies requirements to be met by the governing boards of school districts, county offices of education, and school food authorities that choose to provide access to an online application. This bill would require the State Department of Education to certify that applications for free or reduced-price meals made electronically available online by school district governing boards or county offices of education comply with specified requirements, including provisions prohibiting the misuse of information provided online by applicants. The bill would require applications for free and reduced-price meals, which are authorized to be submitted at any time during a schoolday, to be processed within 30 days of submission. The bill would make private third-party vendors who violate its provisions subject to specified civil penalties. The bill would specify that its provisions would not prevent the use of information provided by a school meal applicant from being used by a governmental entity to increase access to a government-administered anti-hunger program. To the extent that this provision would impose new duties on local educational agencies, it would constitute a state-mandated local program. (5) Existing law provides for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) , administered in California as CalFresh, under which each county distributes nutrition assistance benefits provided by the federal government to eligible households. Existing federal law provides for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, under which the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States is authorized to approve state plans to provide eligible children with temporary emergency nutrition assistance benefits during fiscal years 2020 and 2021 in any case in which a school is closed or has reduced the number of days or hours that students attend the school during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session. This bill would establish the Better Out of School Time (BOOST) Nutrition EBT Program, to be administered by the State Department of Social Services, to provide benefits to eligible pupils during regularly scheduled school breaks or any school campus closure caused by a condition for which a state of emergency has been proclaimed by the Governor that lasts 5 or more schooldays. The bill would make eligible pupils who are enrolled in a public school that participates in the National School Lunch Program and who also receive Medi-Cal or CalFresh, are homeless, are in foster care, or have applied for benefits and it has been determined that their family income is below 185% of the federal poverty level. The bill would require the department to seek all available funding for the P-EBT program. The bill would also require the department to issue BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits to any child or pupil who was eligible to receive benefits under the P-EBT program, as of July 1, 2021, for the 5-month period following the end of the P-EBT program, and would require the department to use the same eligibility, issuance, and other procedures as used under the P-EBT program. By imposing new duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. (6) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

Bill Sponsors (31)

Gonzalez

     
Coauthor

Votes


Actions


Apr 21, 2021

Senate

From committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on APPR. (Ayes 5. Noes 0.) (April 20). Re-referred to Com. on APPR.

  • Committee-Passage
  • Committee-Passage-Favorable
  • Referral-Committee
Com. on APPR.

Apr 16, 2021

Senate

Set for hearing April 20.

Apr 14, 2021

Senate

Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on HUMAN S.

  • Amendment-Passage
  • Reading-1
  • Reading-2
  • Referral-Committee
Com. on HUMAN S.

Apr 13, 2021

Senate

From committee: Do pass as amended and re-refer to Com. on HUMAN S. (Ayes 7. Noes 0.) (April 7).

Mar 24, 2021

Senate

From committee with author's amendments. Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on ED.

  • Amendment-Passage
  • Committee-Passage
  • Reading-1
  • Reading-2
  • Referral-Committee
Com. on ED.

Mar 19, 2021

Senate

Set for hearing April 7.

Mar 18, 2021

Senate

Re-referred to Coms. on ED., HUMAN S., and JUD.

  • Referral-Committee
Coms. on ED., HUMAN S., and JUD.

Senate

Referral to Com. on JUD. rescinded because of the limitations placed on committee hearings due to ongoing health and safety risks of the COVID-19 virus.

Mar 10, 2021

Senate

From committee with author's amendments. Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on RLS.

  • Amendment-Passage
  • Committee-Passage
  • Reading-1
  • Reading-2
  • Referral-Committee
Com. on RLS.

Feb 22, 2021

Senate

Joint Rule 55 suspended. (Ayes 32. Noes 4. Page 272.)

Senate

(Ayes 32. Noes 4.)

Senate

Art. IV. Sec. 8(a) of the Constitution dispensed with.

Feb 17, 2021

Senate

Referred to Com. on RLS.

  • Referral-Committee
Com. on RLS.

Feb 11, 2021

Senate

From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 13.

Feb 10, 2021

Senate

Introduced. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment. To print.

Bill Text

Bill Text Versions Format
SB364 HTML
02/10/21 - Introduced PDF
03/10/21 - Amended Senate PDF
03/24/21 - Amended Senate PDF
04/14/21 - Amended Senate PDF

Related Documents

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Sources

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