Bonta Legislation Would Provide Healthy Meals for Low-Income California Students in Public Charter Schools

Friday, January 26, 2018

(Sacramento, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) introduced AB 1871, which would require charter schools to provide each needy student with one nutritionally adequate meal each school day.

“Hungry students cannot learn effectively,” said Bonta. “School meals are essential to supporting the academic achievement and well-being of students, particularly low-income students who may not otherwise have adequate access to nutritious meals.”

In 1975, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill to ensure all low-income public school students have access to free or low-cost school meals.  More than 340,000 of California’s charter school students are low-income, but under existing law, they aren’t guaranteed access to a school meal.

Charter schools are the only public schools exempt from offering students a daily free or reduced-price nutritious school meal.  AB 1871 will advance the mission of charter schools by helping students achieve.

"Hungry students struggle to learn and achieve at their fullest potential.  Federally-funded school meals help children in families struggling to make ends meet. California has established charters as public schools of choice, but hunger should not be a school choice,” said Tracey Peterson, Director of Legislation at California Food Policy Advocates and sponsor of AB 1871. “California students deserve equitable access to basic resources that support their success, including school meals.”

 “Hunger doesn’t care where you go to school. Access to meals should be available to all students regardless of whether they attend a traditional public school or a public charter school,” concluded Bonta.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus.