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State Bill Seeks To Make California Pay For Kids' School Lunches

(Bob Nichols/USDA/Flickr Creative Commons)
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State lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make California foot the bill for kids' school lunches, instead of letting their families rack up a balance for being unable to pay.

Under current law, all students must have access to school meals, and they are free for families living at or below the federal poverty line.

Students from families just above that level are eligible to get meals at a reduced fee, but they must pay the difference. AB 508 would make the state pitch in to eliminate that cost.

The bill's co-author, Democratic Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), says many working families are already facing serious financial hardship because of the pandemic.

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"That means, when our kids go back to the classroom, low income families are going to be overburdened with school lunch debt, or these fees if they can pay."

A separate bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 guarantees kids get equal access to meals and equal treatment, even if their parents are behind in paying for them.

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