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SB-364 Pupil meals.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 01/20/2022 09:00 PM
SB364:v93#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  January 20, 2022
Amended  IN  Senate  January 13, 2022
Amended  IN  Senate  January 03, 2022
Amended  IN  Senate  April 14, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 24, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 10, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 364


Introduced by Senator Skinner
(Principal coauthors: Senators Eggman, Hertzberg, Laird, Limón, and McGuire)
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Berman and Luz Rivas)
(Coauthors: Senators Allen, Gonzalez, Hueso, Newman, Umberg, Wieckowski, and Wiener)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Burke, Carrillo, Chiu, Cooley, Cooper, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Levine, Nazarian, Quirk-Silva, Reyes, Robert Rivas, Rodriguez, Santiago, Stone, and Villapudua)

February 10, 2021


An act to amend Section 49557 of the Education Code, and to add Section 10618.7 to, and to add Chapter 10.2 (commencing with Section 18936) to Part 6 of Division 9 of, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to pupil meals.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 364, as amended, Skinner. Pupil meals.
(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.
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. 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 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. The bill would authorize each school district and county superintendent of schools to establish a secured internet website providing access to an online data collection form as part of the annual enrollment process, and would require the department to host a sample application by an unspecified date, unless the Superintendent of Public Instruction determines that use of the form would negatively impact the local control funding formula.
(2) 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 make implementation of the BOOST Nutrition EBT Program contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute for its purposes.
The bill would require the department to seek all available funding for, and maximize participation in, 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.
(3) 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.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) No child in California should experience hunger, and every public school pupil should benefit from access to a healthy, locally procured and freshly prepared meal during the schoolday.
(b) In July 2021, California became the first state to enact and fund free school meals for all, whereby requiring all schools to offer two meals each schoolday and ending the practice of charging pupils and their families for meals served at school.
(c) On ____, 2022, Congress passed and President Biden signed the Build Back Better Act, which increased the amount of federal funding available for states to provide free school meals and established a time-limited, out-of-school time Electronic Benefit Transfer program to provide a meal-replacement food benefit to children during the summer months.
(d) With increased federal funding, California’s free school meal for all program and complimentary child nutrition programs are primed to take the next step to meet the increasingly urgent twin goals of climate and economic justice.

SEC. 2.

 Section 49557 of the Education Code is amended to read:

49557.
 (a) (1) The governing board of a school district and the county superintendent of schools shall make paper applications for free or reduced-price meals available to pupils at all times during each regular schoolday, and may also make an application electronically available online, provided that the online application has been certified by the department to comply with paragraph (2). Pursuant to federal and state guidelines, the application shall contain clear instructions for families that are homeless or are migrants, and shall also contain, in at least 8-point boldface type, each of the following statements:
(A) Applications for free and reduced-price meals may be submitted at any time during a schoolday, and shall be processed within 30 days of submission.
(B) Children participating in the federal National School Lunch Program will not be overtly identified by the use of special tokens, special tickets, special serving lines, separate entrances, separate dining areas, or by any other means.
(C) Commencing with the 2022–23 school year, each pupil is entitled to two free school meals each schoolday regardless of their free and reduced-price meal eligibility status.
(2) If a governing board of a school district, a county office of education, or a school food authority chooses to provide access to an online application for free or reduced-price meals pursuant to paragraph (1), the online application shall comply with all of the following requirements:
(A) Include a link to the internet website on which translated applications are posted by the United States Department of Agriculture, with instructions in that language that inform the applicant how to submit the application. The Legislature finds and declares that federal guidelines require school food authorities to accept and process these applications if they are submitted to the school food authority.
(B) Require completion of only those questions that are necessary for determining eligibility.
(C) Include clear instructions for families that are homeless or are migrants.
(D) Comply with the privacy rights and disclosure protections established by the federal Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (Public Law 113-79) and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-277).
(E) Include links to all of the following:
(i) The online application to CalFresh.
(ii) The online single state application for health care.
(iii) The internet web page maintained by the State Department of Public Health entitled “About WIC and How to Apply,” or another internet web page identified by the State Department of Public Health that connects families to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
(iv) The internet website of a summer lunch program authorized to participate within the city or school district.
(v) The internet websites providing information about Summer Lunch EBT, the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, or the Better Out of School Time (BOOST) Nutrition EBT Program established in Chapter 10.2 (commencing with Section 18936) of Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(vi) The internet website of the local educational agency’s alternative income collection form described in subdivision (f).
(F) An online application for free or reduced-price meals made accessible online by a school district, a county office of education, a school food authority, or a private third-party vendor shall not allow the information provided by an applicant to be sold, shared, or used by a private entity for any purpose not related to the administration of a school food program, or require an applicant to waive any right or to create a user account in order to submit the application.
(b) The governing board of each school district and each county superintendent of schools shall formulate a plan, which shall be mailed to the State Department of Education for its approval, that will ensure that children eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals and milk shall not be treated differently from other children. These plans shall ensure each of the following:
(1) Unless otherwise specified, the names of the children shall not be published, posted, or announced in any manner, or used for any purpose other than the federal National School Lunch Program.
(2) There shall be no overt identification of any of the children by the use of special tokens or tickets or by any other means.
(3) The children shall not be required to work for their meals or milk.
(4) The children shall not be required to use a separate dining area, go through a separate serving line, enter the dining area through a separate entrance, or consume their meals or milk at a different time.
(5) Compliance with Section 49557.5.
(c) When more than one lunch or breakfast or type of milk is offered pursuant to this article, the children shall have the same choice of meals or milk that is available to those children who pay the full price for their meal or milk.
(d) A private third-party vendor who violates subparagraph (F) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) or any other provision of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for a first violation and ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for any subsequent violation.
(e) This section shall 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.
(f) (1) Each school district and county superintendent of schools may establish a secured internet website providing access to an online data collection form that can be used for purposes of collecting information necessary for the local control funding formula and the Community Eligibility Provision in Section 1759a of Title 42 of the United States Code as part of the annual enrollment process. This form shall be made available in all threshold languages and shall not request information that is not necessary for these purposes. Use of this form shall be voluntary for parents and guardians. The establishment and use of this form is allowable to the extent that it does not negatively impact the local control funding formula, as determined by the Superintendent pursuant to paragraph (3).
(2) On or before ____, the department shall host a sample online data collection form for those local educational agencies that cannot implement an online data collection form described in paragraph (1) through their pupil and parent portals.
(3) If the establishment and use of the online data collection form described in paragraph (1) undermines the local control funding formula, the Superintendent may provide a report or study, consistent with Section 9795 of the Government Code, to the Legislature detailing those impacts.

SEC. 3.

 Section 10618.7 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

10618.7.
 The department shall seek all available funding for, and maximize participation in, the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program established under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-127), as amended by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (Public Law 116-159), the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), and the American Rescue Plan Act (Public Law 117-2).

SEC. 4.

 Chapter 10.2 (commencing with Section 18936) is added to Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
CHAPTER  10.2. Better Out of School Time (BOOST) Nutrition EBT Program

18936.
 (a) The Better Out of School Time (BOOST) Nutrition EBT Program is hereby established to prevent child hunger 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 five or more schooldays.
(b) A pupil is eligible for benefits under the BOOST Nutrition EBT Program if they are enrolled in a public school that participates in the National School Lunch Program and they meet one of the following criteria:
(1) They receive benefits under the Medi-Cal program (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000) of Part 3).
(2) They receive benefits under the CalFresh program (Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 18900) of Part 6).
(3) They are a homeless youth, as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11434a).
(4) They are in foster care.
(5) They have applied for BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits pursuant to this chapter, and it has been determined that their family income is below 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
(c) The State Department of Social Services shall issue BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits to eligible pupils, in the amount described in subdivision (f), for each day during which a school campus is closed due to either of the following circumstances:
(1) A regularly scheduled school break that lasts five or more schooldays.
(2) A closure of a school campus as a result of a condition for which a state of emergency has been proclaimed by the Governor that lasts five or more schooldays.
(d) When applicable, the department shall issue BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits to eligible pupils no later than seven business days prior to regularly scheduled breaks.
(e) (1) On or before March 1, 2023, the department shall submit a report to the Legislature describing how the department can ensure timely BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits issuance to pupils during a school campus closure caused by a condition for which a state of emergency has been proclaimed by the Governor, and the cost of issuing these benefits timely.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(f) The department shall set the amount of the daily BOOST Nutrition EBT benefit at the beginning of each school year in an amount that equals the reimbursement rate of a free breakfast under the federal School Breakfast Program under Section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1773) and a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1751 et seq.).
(g) (1) Notwithstanding subdivisions (b) and (c), the department shall also issue BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits to any child or pupil who was eligible to receive benefits under the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program established under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-127), as amended by the federal Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (Public Law 116-159), the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), and the American Rescue Plan Act (Public Law 117-2), and the state plan approved by the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, as of July 1, 2021, for the five-month period following the end of the P-EBT program.
(2) For the issuance of BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits pursuant to this subdivision, the department shall use the same eligibility, issuance, and other procedures as used under the P-EBT program or the Summer Lunch EBT program.
(h) (1) The department shall annually report to the Legislature on outcomes of the BOOST Nutrition EBT Program, including, but not limited to, both of the following:
(A) In each county, the number and percent of pupils receiving benefits, and the total benefits issued.
(B) Opportunities to improve program participation and program performance.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(i) BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits issued pursuant to this chapter are not subject to review under Section 10950.
(j) To the extent permitted by federal law, BOOST Nutrition EBT benefits issued pursuant to this chapter shall not be considered as income or resources in determining other public benefits.
(k) The implementation of this section is contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute for its purposes.

SEC. 5.

 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.