Governor Signs Bonta’s AB 1871 to Provide Healthy Meals for Low-Income California Students in Public Charter Schools

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

(Sacramento, CA) – Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 1871, which will require charter schools to provide low-income students with one nutritious meal each school day.

AB 1871, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), rights a long-standing inequity by ensuring that low-income students in charter schools have the same access to free and reduced-price school meals as low-income students in all other public schools.  

“Food is fundamental, and hunger doesn’t care where a student goes to school,” said Assemblymember Bonta (D-Oakland). “I thank the Governor for signing this bill because every student in California deserves access to a healthy meal. AB 1871 means more children will have nourishment and thereby be ready to learn and reach their full potential.”

In 1975, Governor Brown signed legislation requiring that all public schools provide at least one free or reduced-price meal to low-income students each school day. When charter schools were authorized as public schools in 1992, they were exempt from this requirement.

“Today, the Governor continued his legacy of ensuring low-income children in California have access to free or reduced-price school meals,” said Bonta. “Hungry students cannot learn effectively. 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.”

"No child should go to school worried about whether they’ll have enough to eat,” said Tracey Patterson, director of legislation at California Food Policy Advocates, a cosponsor of the bill. “AB 1871 will help keep hunger out of California public schools.”

Because of AB 1871, 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. AB 1871 will advance the mission of charter schools by helping students achieve.

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.