Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law that increases access to free and reduced lunches for students, AB 1502, authored, by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, (D- Richmond).
One of the biggest barriers to identifying and enrolling all low-income students in the program is filling out the necessary paperwork if they are not identified through their participation in other programs for low-income Californians.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 established Direct Certification (DC) percentage benchmarks for states to meet, which is 95 percent. Currently, California’s DC match rate is at approximately 63 percent.
This new law provides the California Department of Education (CDE) the flexibility to expand DC, giving more kids the food they need without requiring time-consuming paperwork.
“I would like to thank Gov. Brown and my legislative colleagues for supporting this bill,” said Assemblymember Thurmond. “Many kids that aren’t getting the access they deserve will now begin to get free and reduced lunches. This bill highlights what we are here to do in Sacramento to help kids and families.”
This law allows the California Department of Education to take an active role in the certification process by giving them the authority to conduct the match.
AB 1502 was supported by the Children’s Defense Fund-California and was sponsored by the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.