State Budget Includes Funding for Universal School Meals

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Published on Jun 29, 2021 in Child Nutrition, School-Aged Children, State Legislation

The 2021-22 state budget announced June 28 includes a historic investment in school nutrition. Thanks to the leadership and vision of Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), California is the first state in the nation to allow schools to serve free meals to all California K-12 students. The budget is a statement of our values as a state, and this year's plan makes a powerful statement the California will fight childhood hunger and invest in the well being of our students.

Specifically, the budget "launches the Universal School Meals Program, with an increase in state meal reimbursements by $54 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year and $650 million ongoing Proposition 98 funding beginning in 2022-23, to cover the costs of offering breakfast and lunch for all students.”

We thank Senator Skinner for her leadership and Governor Newsom for adopting the Legislature's School Meals for All proposal in the final budget package.

School Meals for Every California Kid

All children deserve to be well nourished and thrive. School meals are an essential resource that help students learn, grow, and achieve at their fullest potential. By connecting children with the nutritious food they need, we can help close systemic opportunity gaps that harm students with low income and students of color, particularly Black and Latinx children, across California.

Throughout the pandemic, time-limited federal waivers have allowed schools to serve meals free of charge to all children. Ongoing funding starting in the 2022-23 fiscal year will allow California public schools to continue providing free school meals to every student when the federal waivers expire on June 30, 2022.

Providing free breakfast and lunch will ensure every student has the nutrition they need to thrive at school. California’s leadership provides a model for the federal government and for other states to adopt universal meals.

Questions? Contact Jared Call at