A bill that aims to ensure no child in need goes without a school lunch has been introduced by California lawmakers.
Several state lawmakers, as well as officials with the American Diabetes Association, held a virtual new conference Thursday to unveil the proposed legislation.
Assemblymember Luz Rivas of Arleta said it's not fair for low-income students, who can't afford to buy even a reduced lunch, to incur a debt especially since many of their parents may have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
"I know there are thousands of families across our state that have to think of this burden every day. When our kids go back to the classroom, low-income families are going to be overburdened with school lunch debt," Rivas said.
Existing law requires school districts or county superintendent of schools or county superintendent of schools for grades K-12 to provide students in need with one free or reduced-price meal during each school day. It also authorizes schools to use funds available from any federal or state program to comply with that requirement.
AB 508 would require school districts or county superintendents to provide that meal free of charge if a student is eligible to receive a reduced-priced meal.
"The bill would require the state to provide sufficient funding to school districts and county offices of education to cover the cost of providing meals free of charge to pupils from households that would otherwise be required to provide a copayment for these meals," the bill reads.