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AB-558 School meals: Child Nutrition Act of 2022.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 01/03/2022 09:00 PM
AB558:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  January 03, 2022

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 558


Introduced by Assembly Members Nazarian, Kalra, and Quirk-Silva Quirk-Silva, and Luz Rivas
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Bloom)

February 11, 2021


An act to add Article 7.5 (commencing with Section 49495) and Article 11.9 (commencing with Section 49569) to Chapter 9 of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of of, and to add and repeal Section 49496 of, the Education Code, relating to school meals.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 558, as amended, Nazarian. School meals: plant-based food and milk options: California School Plant-Based Food and Beverage Program. Child Nutrition Act of 2022.
Existing law requires each school district or county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and each charter school to provide for each needy pupil one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday. schoolday, and authorizes a school district or county office of education to use funds available from any federal program, including the federal School Breakfast Program, to comply with that requirement. Existing law sets the reimbursement rates for free or reduced-price meals served to needy pupils at specified 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 require the State Department of Education to develop, and to post on its internet website by July 1, 2023, guidance for local educational agencies participating in the federal School Breakfast Program that maintain kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 6, inclusive, on how to serve eligible nonschoolaged children breakfast or a morning snack at a local educational agency schoolsite. The bill would define “eligible nonschoolaged child” to mean a child who is not enrolled in school and who is a sibling, half sibling, or stepsibling of, or a foster child residing with, a pupil who is eligible for a free or reduced-price breakfast. The bill would require a guardian of an eligible nonschoolaged child to be present in order for the nonschoolaged child to receive breakfast or a morning snack. The bill would require the department to evaluate the guidance and to submit the evaluation to the Legislature by January 1, 2025. The bill would require a local educational agency that chooses to implement the department’s guidance to submit to the department certain information relating to serving breakfast and morning snacks to nonschoolaged children.
This bill would establish within the State Department of Education the California School Plant-Based Food and Beverage and Restricted Diet Program. The bill would authorize a local educational agency, as defined, to apply for funding, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for reimbursement of up to $0.20 per meal for meals that include a plant-based food plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food option, as defined, or up to $0.10 per meal for meals that include a plant-based milk option, as defined, or both. The bill would require the department to make additional one-time payments of up to $1,000, as specified, on a first-come-first-served basis to local educational agencies that receive meal reimbursement pursuant to the bill’s program’s provisions. The bill would also require the department, upon a one-time appropriation by the Legislature, to provide grants of up to $100,000 to local educational agencies for additional purposes relating to the program. The bill would authorize the department to accept funding from private sources for the purpose of providing reimbursements or grants pursuant to these provisions.
The bill would require the department to adopt regulations to implement the program, establish guidelines for the evaluation of the program, report evaluation results to the Legislature, and conduct outreach.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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 Nutrition Act of 2022.

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The federal School Breakfast Program is a federally funded program that assists public schools in providing nutritious breakfasts for free or at a reduced price to pupils enrolled in schools.
(b) The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program provides federal reimbursement to eligible institutions for nutritious meals and snacks served to eligible children and adults.
(c) Many children in California do not eat breakfast on a regular basis because their families cannot afford enough food.
(d) Studies have shown that children whose nutritional needs are met throughout the day have fewer discipline problems and their ability to learn is enhanced.
(e) With the knowledge of the harm caused to children when they go hungry, and research showing the negative correlation between brain development and hunger, the state should be optimizing every opportunity to prevent hunger for young children.

SEC. 3.

 Article 7.5 (commencing with Section 49495) is added to Chapter 9 of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  7.5. Breakfast and Morning Snacks for Nonschoolaged Children

49495.
 (a) The department shall develop guidance for local educational agencies participating in the federal School Breakfast Program that maintain kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 6, inclusive, on how to serve eligible nonschoolaged children breakfast or a morning snack at a local educational agency schoolsite.
(b) The guidance shall highlight opportunities to maximize federal reimbursement through the federal School Breakfast Program and the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program.
(c) A guardian of an eligible nonschoolaged child shall be present at the local educational agency schoolsite in order for the nonschoolaged child to receive breakfast or a morning snack at the schoolsite pursuant to this section.
(d) The department shall develop the guidance in a manner that does not jeopardize federal funding for school meal programs and that maximizes federal meal reimbursement.
(e) The department shall post the guidance on its internet website by July 1, 2023. The department is not required to mail the guidance to local educational agencies.
(f) This section does not require a local educational agency to take any action.

49496.
 (a) The department shall evaluate the guidance developed and posted pursuant to Section 49495 and the impact of the guidance on local educational agency breakfast programs. The department shall submit the evaluation to the Legislature by January 1, 2025, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(b) A local educational agency that chooses to implement the department’s guidance shall submit to the department the applicable information specified in subdivision (c) and any other relevant information the department requires in a manner determined by the department.
(c) The evaluation shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, all of the following:
(1) A copy of the posted guidance.
(2) The number of local educational agencies that started to serve breakfast or morning snacks to eligible nonschoolaged children.
(3) Local educational agency evaluations of federal meal reimbursement and payments to the local educational agency.
(4) The number of breakfasts and morning snacks provided by each local educational agency.
(5) The total number of eligible nonschoolaged children that received breakfast or a morning snack.
(6) Any issues that occurred during implementation of this article that require budget-related or legislative action or oversight.
(d) Pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, this section is repealed on January 1, 2029.

49497.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Eligible nonschoolaged child” means a child who is not enrolled in school and who is a sibling, half sibling, or stepsibling of, or a foster child residing with, a pupil who meets the federal eligibility criteria for a free or reduced-price breakfast at a local educational agency participating in the federal School Breakfast Program that maintains kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 6, inclusive.
(b) “Guardian” means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, or other adult family member or caretaker who is caring for an eligible nonschoolaged child.
(c) “Local educational agency” means a school district, county office of education, or charter school.

SECTION 1.SEC. 4.

 Article 11.9 (commencing with Section 49569) is added to Chapter 9 of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  11.9. California School Plant-Based Food and Beverage and Restricted Diet Program

49569.
 (a) There is hereby established within the department the California School Plant-Based Food and Beverage and Restricted Diet Program.
(b) In making procurement decisions pursuant to this article, local educational agencies are encouraged to give preference to the purchase of plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food options and plant-based milk options from California producers, when commercially available.

49569.1.
 (a) Upon appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or another statute for purposes of this section, a local educational agency may apply for reimbursement in an amount of up to twenty cents ($0.20) per meal for meals that include a plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food option and up to ten cents ($0.10) per meal for meals that include a plant-based milk option. A single meal with both a plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food option and a plant-based milk option is eligible to receive reimbursement for both options, not to exceed the cost of the meal. The department shall pay the reimbursement amounts in quarterly installments. Reimbursement funds shall be deposited into the nonprofit school food service account of the local educational agency. Reimbursement provided pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any other state or federal funding or reimbursement received.
(b) A local educational agency applying for the funds described in subdivision (a) for plant-based food options or plant-based milk options shall provide documentation of the number of plant-based food options and or plant-based milk options options, respectively, reimbursable under the federal National School Lunch Program that the local educational agency served in the baseline 2018–19 school year. A local educational agency applying for the funds described in subdivision (a) for restricted diet or vegetarian food options shall provide documentation of the number of restricted diet or vegetarian food options, respectively, that the local educational agency served in the baseline 2018–19 school year. A local educational agency that does not provide this documentation for a specific food option is not eligible for funding for that food option pursuant to this section.
(c) The funds described in subdivision (a) shall be available for plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food options or plant-based milk options that represent an increase from the number of reimbursable plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food options or plant-based milk options served in the baseline 2018–19 school year, as demonstrated by the documentation required pursuant to subdivision (b).
(d) Upon appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or another statute for purposes of this section, a local educational agency that receives meal reimbursement pursuant to this section shall receive an additional one-time payment of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the costs of collecting the 2018–19 school year baseline data. The department shall make one-time payments pursuant to this subdivision on a first-come-first-served basis.
(e) (1) The department may limit the total amount of reimbursements and payments provided pursuant to this section to a total of three million dollars ($3,000,000) per year.
(2) A limit established pursuant to paragraph (1) does not apply to funding from private sources.

49569.2.
 (a) Upon a one-time appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or another statute for purposes of this section, the department shall provide grants, in an amount of up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), to local educational agencies for any of the following:
(1) To contract with third parties for professional development training for schoolsite staff on serving, including preparing, procuring, advertising, and creating menus for plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food options or plant-based milk options.
(2) To purchase cafeteria equipment to prepare plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food options options, or plant-based milk options, as needed.
(3) To provide technical assistance and pupil engagement and education on plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food options and plant-based milk options, including providing taste tests, recipe development, andculinary education. culinary education, and proper food handling.
(4) To provide additional compensation for additional work relating to serving meals that include a plant-based plant-based, restricted diet, or vegetarian food option option, or a plant-based milk option option, pursuant to Section 49569.1, to the extent that funding is made available in the grant for this purpose.
(b) Grants awarded for a purpose identified in subdivision (a) shall be awarded on a competitive basis.
(c) In providing grants pursuant to this section, the department shall give priority to local educational agencies with the largest percentage of pupils eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches.
(d) (1) Before entering into a contract with a third party for professional development training pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), a local educational agency shall complete negotiations on the training with the schoolsite staff’s exclusive representative, as defined in Section 3540.1 of the Government Code, if requested to do so by the exclusive representative.
(2) An employee shall not be required to attend professional development training pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) for which the employee does not receive at least that employee’s regular rate of pay or that takes place outside of that employee’s normal working hours.

49569.3.
 The department shall do all of the following:
(a) Adopt regulations, as it deems necessary, to implement the program established pursuant to this article.
(b) Establish guidelines for the evaluation of the meal reimbursement and grant program.
(c) (1) Complete an evaluation of the meal reimbursement and grant program and report the results of the evaluation to the Legislature in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code by September 1, 2025. 2026. The evaluation shall include the number of local educational agencies that applied for and received meal reimbursement and payments, the number of meals provided by each local educational agency, the number of local educational agencies that applied for and received grant funding, and the manner in which local educational agencies used grant funds.
(2) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under paragraph (1) is inoperative on September 1, 2029, 2030, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
(d) Conduct outreach, with special attention given to the local educational agencies with the largest percentage of pupils eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches.

49569.4.
 The department may accept funding from private sources for the purpose of providing reimbursements and payments pursuant to Section 49569.1 or grants pursuant to Section 49569.2.

49569.5.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Local educational agency” means a school district, county office of education, or charter school maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that participates in the federal National School Lunch Program.
(b) “Nonprofit school food service account” has the same meaning as defined in Section 210.2 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) “Plant-based food option” means a food that contains no animal products or byproducts, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs, and that is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as a meat alternate for purposes of the federal National School Lunch Program.
(d) “Plant-based milk option” means a beverage that contains no animal products or byproducts, including dairy, and that is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as a nondairy fluid milk substitute for purposes of the federal National School Lunch Program.
(e) “Restricted diet food option” means a food prepared in response to a pupil with at least one dietary restriction, including, but not limited to, religious dietary restrictions or restrictions prescribed by a physician.
(f) “Vegetarian food option” means a food that contains no meat, poultry, or fish.