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AB-3006 School meals: free or reduced-price meals.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/30/2020 09:00 PM
AB3006:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 3006


Introduced by Assembly Member Berman

February 21, 2020


An act to add Section 49502 to the Education Code, relating to school meals. An act to amend Section 42238.01 of, and to add Section 49564.1 to, the Education Code, relating to school meals.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 3006, as amended, Berman. School meals: free or reduced-price meals.
(1) Existing law establishes a public school financing system that requires state funding for school districts and charter schools to be calculated pursuant to a local control funding formula, as specified. Existing law requires funding pursuant to the local control funding formula to include, in addition to a base grant, supplemental and concentration grant add-ons that are based on the percentage of pupils who are English learners, foster youth, or eligible for free or reduced-price meals, as specified, served by the school district or charter school. Existing law authorizes schools participating in certain federal school meals programs to establish a base year for purposes of calculating the number of pupils at the school who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals by determining each pupil’s eligibility status in that base year and using that number to report eligibility for up to each of the following 3 school years.
This bill would additionally allow schools participating in those federal school meals programs to establish a base year by carrying 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.
(2) Existing law requires a school district or county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to provide a needy pupil with one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday, and authorizes the school district or county superintendent of schools to use funds available from any federal or state school meals program to comply with that requirement. Existing law sets the reimbursement rates a school receives for free or reduced-price meals sold or served to pupils in elementary, middle, or high schools in the annual Budget Act in prescribed amounts.
Existing law generally requires a school district or a county superintendent of schools to provide breakfast and lunch free of charge to all pupils at a very high poverty school, as defined.
This bill would provide that, on and after July 1, 2021, a school district, county superintendent of schools, or charter school that participates in a specified school meal service provision under federal law at a high poverty school, as defined, in its jurisdiction qualifies for supplemental state reimbursement, calculated as prescribed. The bill would require the supplemental state reimbursement to be provided, upon appropriation by the Legislature, in addition to existing state reimbursement for school meals.

Existing law requires each school district, county superintendent of schools, and charter school 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, as specified, and authorizes a school district or county office of education to use funds available through any federal or state program for those purposes.

This bill, commencing with the 2021–22 school year, would require the State Department of Education to reimburse local educational agencies for their nonreimbursed expenses in providing United States Department of Agriculture reimbursable meals to pupils, as specified. The bill would define “local educational agency” to include school districts and county offices of education. The bill would authorize the department to develop and adopt regulations as it deems necessary to implement these provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Throughout the state, which boasts one of the world’s largest economies, at least 2,000,000 children live in households that struggle with food insecurity, consisting of limited, uncertain, or inconsistent access to adequate food.
(2) Given the long-lasting and negative impacts of childhood nutritional deprivation, ending child hunger is critical for the State of California.
(3) Structural inequities have perpetuated profound racial disparities in health, education, employment, and income, leading to higher rates of food insecurity and educational opportunity gaps among low-income children of color.
(4) California’s relentlessly high cost of living means many working poor and low-income families must forego basic needs, including food.
(5) School meal programs are a primary nutrition safety net for low-income pupils and a major support for families struggling to make ends meet.
(6) Offering school meals free of charge to all pupils, known as universal meal service, provides optimal access to nutrition, reduces stigma, prevents school meal debt, and eliminates school meal shaming.
(7) Existing federal laws and regulations allow certain schools to provide school meals free of charge to all pupils, but these federal policies do not reflect the true levels of need or the realities of operating school meal programs in California.
(8) As new federal policies, including threats to the health and safety of immigrant Californians, make it harder for families to access adequate food, schools should be a safe harbor where pupils are nourished and able to thrive.
(9) The effects of federal, state, and local dollars spent on education are muted when classrooms are full of hungry pupils who struggle to focus and learn.
(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature in enacting this measure to support pupil health and achievement and equitable access to opportunities in education by creating a state-funded supplemental payment to provide universally free breakfast and lunch in schools where, although there is a substantial need among pupils, providing universally free school meals is otherwise unattainable or unsustainable.

SEC. 2.

 Section 42238.01 of the Education Code is amended to read:

42238.01.
 For purposes of Section 42238.02, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) “Eligible for free or reduced-price meals” means determined to meet federal income eligibility criteria, either through completing an application for the federal National School Lunch Program or through an alternative household income data collection form, or deemed to be categorically eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the federal National School Lunch Program, as described in Part 245 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(1) (A) A school participating in a special assistance alternative authorized by Section 11(a)(1) of the federal Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (Public Law 113-79), including Provision 2, Provision 3, or the Community Eligibility Provision, may establish a base year for purposes of the local control funding formula by doing either of the following:
(i) Determining the pupils at the school who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and using each pupil’s eligibility status in that base year to report eligibility for up to each of the following three school years.
(ii) Carrying 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 using each pupil’s eligibility status in that base year to report eligibility for up to each of the following three school years.

(1)

(B)  A school participating in a special assistance alternative authorized by Section 11(a)(1) of the federal Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (Public Law 113-79), including Provision 2, Provision 3, or the Community Eligibility Provision, may establish a base year for purposes of the local control funding formula by determining the pupils at the school who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and using each pupil’s eligibility status in that base year to report eligibility for up to each of the following three school years. The school may include between base year eligibility determinations, any newly enrolled pupils who are determined to be eligible for free or reduced-price meals or any current pupils found to be newly eligible for free or reduced-price meals as identified through a local or state direct certification match or another categorical designation.
(2) A school that uses the special assistance alternative shall maintain information on each pupil’s eligibility status and annually submit information on that status in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 42238.02 or subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 2574, as applicable.
(3) For a pupil who transfers to a school using a special assistance alternative and who is transferring between schools within the same school district, documentation supporting eligibility for that pupil for purposes of the local control funding formula may be transferred from the pupil’s old school to the pupil’s new school, as long as the documentation supporting eligibility for that pupil is less than four years old and is updated at least once every four years.
(4) To the extent permitted by federal law, a school may choose to establish a new base year for purposes of the federal National School Lunch Program at the same time the school establishes a new base year for purposes of the local control funding formula. A school may use federal National School Lunch Program application forms to collect household income data as permitted under the federal National School Lunch Program. If the use of federal National School Lunch Program application forms is not permitted, a school shall use alternative household income data collection forms.
(5) An alternative household income data collection form shall be confidential and shall not be shared by the school other than as necessary for purposes of determining funding allocations under the local control funding formula and for assessing the accountability of that funding. An alternative household income data collection form shall contain, at a minimum, all of the following information:
(A) Information sufficient to identify the pupil or pupils.
(B) Information sufficient to determine that the pupil or household meets federal income eligibility criteria sufficient to qualify for either a free or reduced-priced meal under the federal Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (Public Law 113-79).
(C) Certification that the information is true and correct by the pupil’s adult household member.
(6) Paragraphs (1) and (3) are effective commencing with the 2014–15 fiscal year.
(b) “Foster youth” means any of the following:
(1) A child who is the subject of a petition filed pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, whether or not the child has been removed from his or her home by the juvenile court pursuant to Section 319 or 361 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(2) A child who is the subject of a petition filed pursuant to Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, has been removed from his or her home by the juvenile court pursuant to Section 727 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and is in foster care as defined by subdivision (d) of Section 727.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(3) A nonminor under the transition jurisdiction of the juvenile court, as described in Section 450 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, who satisfies all of the following criteria:
(A) He or she The nonminor has attained 18 years of age while under an order of foster care placement by the juvenile court, and is not more than 19 years of age on or after January 1, 2012, not more than 20 years of age on or after January 1, 2013, and not more than 21 years of age, on or after January 1, 2014, and as described in Section 10103.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(B) He or she The nonminor is in foster care under the placement and care responsibility of the county welfare department, county probation department, Indian tribe, consortium of tribes, or tribal organization that entered into an agreement pursuant to Section 10553.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(C) He or she The nonminor is participating in a transitional independent living case plan pursuant to Section 475(8) of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 675), as contained in the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351), as described in Section 11403 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(4) (A) A dependent child of the court of an Indian tribe, consortium of tribes, or tribal organization who is the subject of a petition filed in the tribal court pursuant to the tribal court’s jurisdiction in accordance with the tribe’s law, provided that the child would also meet one of the descriptions in Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code describing when a child may be adjudged a dependent child of the juvenile court.
(B) This paragraph is effective no later than the 2020–21 fiscal year.
(c) “Pupils of limited English proficiency” means pupils who do not have the clearly developed English language skills of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing necessary to receive instruction only in English at a level substantially equivalent to pupils of the same age or grade whose primary language is English. “English learner” shall have the same meaning as provided for in subdivision (a) of Section 306 and as “pupils of limited English proficiency.”

SEC. 3.

 Section 49564.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:

49564.1.
 (a) For purposes of this section, a “high poverty school” means a school that enrolls pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and that has the necessary “identified student” percentage specified in Section 1759a of Title 42 of the United States Code to qualify the school to receive the federal free reimbursement rate for less than 85 percent of all reimbursable meals served.
(b) On and after July 1, 2021, a school district, county superintendent of schools, or charter school that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision pursuant to Section 1759a of Title 42 of the United States Code at a high poverty school in its jurisdiction qualifies for the supplemental state reimbursement specified in subdivision (c).
(c) The supplemental state reimbursement shall equal the difference between both of the following:
(1) The combined total of 85 percent of all reimbursable meals served being reimbursed at the federal free reimbursement rate and 15 percent of all reimbursable meals served being reimbursed at the federal paid reimbursement rate.
(2) The actual federal reimbursement received for all reimbursable meals served.
(d) The supplemental state reimbursement specified in subdivision (c) shall be provided, upon appropriation by the Legislature, in addition to payments made pursuant to Article 10 (commencing with Section 49530).

SECTION 1.Section 49502 is added to the Education Code, to read:
49502.

(a)Commencing with the 2021–22 school year, the department shall reimburse local educational agencies for their nonreimbursed expenses in providing United States Department of Agriculture reimbursable free or reduced-price meals to pupils as described in subdivision (b). The amounts of the reimbursements provided under this section may not exceed the amounts prescribed by subdivision (b).

(b)For schools that offer reimbursable breakfast and lunch free of charge to all pupils of that school based on the school’s categorical eligibility to provide reimbursable breakfast and lunch to pupils free of charge without consideration of individual eligibility for free or reduced-price meals, the amount of reimbursements provided under this section may not exceed the difference between the following amounts:

(1)The reimbursement rate established by the United States Department of Agriculture for the reimbursable meals provided by the school.

(2)Any amounts otherwise reimbursed or paid by state, federal, or other sources.

(c)The department may develop and adopt regulations as it deems necessary to implement this section.

(d)As used in this section, “local educational agency” includes school districts and county offices of education.