Child nutrition: school, childcare, transitional kindergarten, and preschool meals


session 2019-2020
priority Standard
Author Limon
position Support
Letter View Letter
Would require the reimbursement rate for meals served in schools and childcare centers and homes to be set at an equivalent rate, and would repeal the provisions setting the reimbursement rate for free or reduced-price meals served to needy pupils by family daycare homes at 75% of the meals served.

Last Action:

10/13/19 Vetoed by Governor.
Governor’s Veto Message
To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 842 without my signature.

This bill establishes new requirements for the number of meals provided to children participating in California State Preschool Programs and allows family child care homes that subcontract for State Preschool through a local educational agency to receive the same reimbursement as meals served at center-based LEA State Preschools. The bill also requires the establishment of a state reimbursement rate for meals served by state-subsidized child care providers.

Providing nutritious meals in child care and preschool settings is an important feature of ensuring our youngest children get a healthy start in life, and is currently required of providers who participate in the state’s subsidized child care system. However, this bill places stricter requirements on our preschools and day care providers without fully considering the additional costs it would place on them. While federal and state reimbursement programs may offset a portion of these costs, it is unclear whether many providers can readily access those programs. Moreover, this bill creates ongoing costs in the low millions of dollars and should be considered in the annual budget process.

California is in the process of taking a much-needed holistic look at our early learning and care system. It is premature to saddle additional requirements on these providers until the state understands the true cost of care, including the cost of the nutrition requirements placed on providers.

Gavin Newsom