SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION) A new bill submitted in California would eliminate school lunch debt for low-income students.
The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta).
“It makes absolutely no sense that we are making poor kids pay for school lunches. While we provide meals to inmates, debt-free, low-income students are forced to incur a debt for a reduced school meal,” Rivas said. “Every penny counts for California’s working families, especially during these financially strenuous times. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of hard-working parents continue to lose their jobs and see their savings vanish. When students return to school, we should not burden them with debt when they cannot afford to pay for lunch.”
According to Rivas, the National School Lunch Program makes sure that every student has access to a meal, even if they are provided for free or at a reduced price. She said families need to earn between 130% and 185% of the federal poverty level to be eligible for reduced price meals, but the students need to make a copayment or go into debt if they cannot pay upfront. Rivas said a family of four bringing in between $34,059 and $48,470 must take on the cost for their child to receive a meal.
She says the bill, AB 508, will ease financial strain and make sure children do not go hungry over concerns about debt.
The bill is sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.