Commencing in school year 2022–23, CA Education Code (EC) Section 49501.5 required public school districts, county offices of education (COE), and charter schools serving students in kindergarten through grade 12 to provide a breakfast and lunch, free of charge, during each school day, regardless of a student’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. This is known as the state meal mandate and universal meals. The state meal mandate also applies to public school students in certified nonpublic schools (NPS). This is because the public school students attending the NPS remain under the jurisdiction of the public school district or COE, per EC Section 56365.
Eligible Local Educational Agencies (LEA), specifically public schools, COEs, and charters schools, can be eligible for state reimbursement for meals served to public school students attending an NPS. The NPS must be listed as a site under the sponsorship of the eligible LEA and be a participant in both the school breakfast and national school lunch programs. Please note that the NPS sites are not eligible for state reimbursement for meals served to nonpublic school students, and NPS sponsors are not eligible for state meal reimbursement.