AB-1871 CA Charter schools: free and reduced-price meals.

On September 18, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1871 into law. This bill requires charter schools to serve free and reduced-price eligible students at least one nutritionally-adequate meal each day that school is in session.

This applies to any school that operates at least 2 hours on any given instructional day. Prior to this bill, only public schools were required to comply with this law. According to an article posted by the California Charter Schools Association, many charter schools across the state already serve meals to students, but “less than 5 percent - of charters schools across the state face unique challenges in providing school meals, including lack of access to a kitchen or to food service vendors.”

The California Food Policy Advocates estimate “more than 340,000 low-income students enrolled in California charter schools will now have guaranteed access to free and reduced-price meals at school, including the more than 80,000 low-income students who are currently going without.”

There is a clear connection between student success and ensuring students are fueled with healthy food during the school day. This law requires all schools to feed students, especially those that are most vulnerable to food insecurity. Charter schools have several options when it comes to providing meals to their students: a Food Service Management Company, the local school district's Food Service department, or sourcing a food vendor on their own. Meals should be made available to all students, regardless of their free or reduced-price status. You can use your income forms for Title I funding to determine which students should receive meals for free or at a reduced price or you can become a School Food Authority, which allows your school to receive reimbursement for each meal served.

If you are interested in sharing a press release with your community about AB 1871, you can find a template from the California Food Policy Advocates here.

School Food and Wellness Group can help you set up a meal program to meet the requirements of this bill. We can help you procure healthy meals, or become a School Food Authority and receive reimbursement and everything in between! Contact us today to get started.

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