(a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(1) Needy children rely upon school meals for supplemental nutrition that benefits their health, growth, and academic and social development.
(2) Existing federal law, Section 1761 of Title 42 of the United States Code, establishes the Summer Food Service Program. This program provides assistance to states to support the operation of nonprofit food service programs for needy children during those times of the year when free and reduced-price school meals are not available.
(3) In all but a handful of states, the Summer Food Service Program is administered by an appropriate state agency. However, in California, the United States Department of Agriculture administers the program.
(4) The Summer Food Service Program in California is severely underutilized. While about 1,600,000 children receive free and reduced-price school meals, only 122,300 (less than eight percent) participate in the Summer Food Service Program.
(5) State administration of the Summer Food Service Program will significantly help boost participation. Existing state law already requires the State Department of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide leadership to encourage and support schools and public agencies to participate in the program.
(6) The State Department of Education presently administers within the state three closely related federal food programs: the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
(b) The State Department of Education is hereby designated the state agency for purposes of the Summer Food Service Program (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1761) and shall submit to the Western Regional Office of the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture a program management and administration plan. If the plan is approved, the department shall manage and administer the program.
(c) The provisions of Sections 49536, 49550, and 49559 do not apply to the Summer Food Service Program, as set forth in this section.
(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 517, Sec. 1.)