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SB-250 Pupil meals: Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 10/13/2017 02:00 PM
SB250:v93#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 250
CHAPTER 726

An act to add Section 49557.5 to the Education Code, relating to pupil meals.

[ Approved by Governor  October 12, 2017. Filed with Secretary of State  October 12, 2017. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 250, Hertzberg. Pupil meals: Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017.
Existing law requires each school district or county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to provide one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal for each needy pupil during each schoolday, except as specified. Existing law authorizes a school district or county office of education to use funds made available through any applicable federal or state program or to use its own funds to provide the required meals.
This bill would enact the Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017. The act would require certain local educational agencies, as defined, that provide school meals through the federal National School Lunch Program or the federal School Breakfast Program to ensure that a pupil whose parent or guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not shamed, treated differently, or served a meal that differs from what a pupil whose parent or guardian does not have unpaid school meal fees would receive under that local educational agency’s policy. The act would prohibit school personnel and volunteers at a local educational agency that serves nutritionally adequate meals to pupils during the instructional day from allowing any disciplinary action that is taken against a pupil to result in the denial or delay of a nutritionally adequate meal to that pupil. The act would require a local educational agency to notify a parent or guardian of the negative balance of a pupil’s school meal account no later than 10 days after the pupil’s school meal account has reached a negative balance. The act would require a local educational agency, before sending this notification to the parent or guardian, to exhaust all options and methods to directly certify the pupil for free or reduced-price meals. The act would require a local educational agency to reimburse school meal fees paid by a pupil’s parent or guardian when fees were paid or unpaid fees debt accrued when a pupil would have been determined to be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. To the extent that these provisions would place additional requirements on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017.

SEC. 2.

 It is the intent of the Legislature to prohibit school personnel from using denial or delay of a school meal as a way to punish a child for any reason and to establish transparent rules for resolving school meal fees debt owed by the child’s parent or guardian when the debt has gone unpaid.

SEC. 3.

 Section 49557.5 is added to the Education Code, to read:

49557.5.
 (a) For purposes of this section, “local educational agency” means a school, school district, county office of education, or charter school.
(b) (1) A local educational agency, including a local educational agency in which there is a school that is required to serve a free or reduced-price meal during the schoolday pursuant to Section 49550 and at which all pupils are not eligible to be served breakfast and lunch under the Community Eligibility Provision or Provision 2 of the federal National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1751 et seq.), shall ensure that a pupil whose parent or guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not shamed, treated differently, or served a meal that differs from what a pupil whose parent or guardian does not have unpaid school meal fees would receive under that local educational agency’s policy. This paragraph does not prohibit a school from serving an alternative reimbursable meal to a pupil who may need one for dietary or religious reasons.
(2) If a local educational agency is required to provide to the department or to the United States Department of Agriculture a copy of the meal charge policy required pursuant to memorandum SP 46-2016 issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, the local educational agency or governing board or body of the local educational agency, as applicable, shall make that policy public.
(c) School personnel and volunteers at a local educational agency that serves nutritionally adequate meals to pupils during the instructional day shall not allow any disciplinary action that is taken against a pupil to result in the denial or delay of a nutritionally adequate meal, as defined in Section 49553, to that pupil.
(d) A local educational agency shall not take any action directed at a pupil to collect unpaid school meal fees. A local educational agency may attempt to collect unpaid school meal fees from a parent or guardian, but shall not use a debt collector, as defined in Section 803 of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692a).
(e) A local educational agency shall notify a parent or guardian of the negative balance of a pupil’s school meal account no later than 10 days after the pupil’s school meal account has reached a negative balance. Before sending this notification to the parent or guardian, the local educational agency shall exhaust all options and methods to directly certify the pupil for free or reduced-price meals. If the local educational agency is not able to directly certify the pupil, the local educational agency shall provide the parent or guardian with a paper copy of, or an electronic link to, an application with the notification and contact the parent or guardian to encourage application submission.
(f) To the extent that the expense is reimbursable under the federal National School Lunch Program, a local educational agency shall reimburse school meal fees paid by a pupil’s parent or guardian when fees were paid or unpaid fees debt accrued during any time that the pupil would have been determined, as identified by the local educational agency’s review pursuant to subdivision (e), to be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
(g) Nothing in this section is intended to allow for the indefinite accrual of unpaid school meal fees.
(h) This section shall only apply to a local educational agency that provides school meals through the federal National School Lunch Program or the federal School Breakfast Program.

SEC. 4.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.