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Los Angeles COE |  BP  3553  Business and Noninstructional Operations

Free And Reduced Price Meals   

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The County Board recognizes that adequate nutrition is essential to the development, health, and learning of all students. The County Superintendent or designee will facilitate and encourage the participation of students from low-income families in LACOE's contracted food service program.

LACOE will provide at least one nutritionally adequate meal each school day, free of charge or at a reduced price, for students whose families meet federal eligibility criteria. (Education Code 49550, 49552)

(cf. 3551 - Food Service Operations/Cafeteria Fund)

(cf. 3552 - Summer Meal Program)

(cf. 5030 - Student Wellness)

(cf. 5148 - Child Care and Development)

(cf. 5148.2 - Before/After School Programs)

(cf. 5148.3 - Preschool/Early Childhood Education)

(cf. 6177 - Summer Learning Programs)

To provide optimal nutrition and reduce the administrative burden of food service operations, the County Superintendent or designee shall assess the eligibility of county schools to provide breakfast and/or lunch free of charge to all students at the school under a federally funded universal meal service provision, such as Provision 2 or the Community Eligibility Provision, pursuant to 42 USC 1759a.

If any county school meets the criteria for a "very high poverty school" through its eligibility for the federal Community Eligibility Provision reimbursement rate pursuant to 42 USC 1759a, the county shall apply to the California Department of Education (CDE) to operate a universal meal service, unless the County Board adopts a resolution stating that the county is unable to comply with this requirement due to fiscal hardship. The resolution shall be part of the public agenda for at least two consecutive County Board meetings, first as an information item and then as an action item. The County Board shall reconsider the resolution at least once every four years. (Education Code 49564; 42 USC 1759a)

The County Superintendent or designee will ensure that meals provided through the free and reduced-price meals program meet applicable state and/or federal nutritional standards in accordance with law, County Board policy, and administrative regulation.

(cf. 3550 - Food Service/Child Nutrition Program)

Schools participating in the Special Milk Program pursuant to 42 USC 1772 shall provide milk at no charge to students who meet federal eligibility criteria for free or reduced-price meals.

The County Superintendent or designee will approve, and shall submit to the CDE for approval, a plan that ensures that students eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals and milk are not treated differently from other students. (Education Code 49557)

(cf. 0410 - Nondiscrimination in LACOE Programs and Activities)

(cf. 3555 - Nutrition Program Compliance)

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)

Confidentiality/Release of Records

All applications and records related to eligibility for the free and reduced-price meal program shall be confidential except and may not be released as provided by law and authorized by the Board or pursuant to a court order. (Education Code 49558)

The County Superintendent or designee authorizes designated employees to use individual records pertaining to student eligibility for any free and reduced-price meal program for the purposes of: (Education Code 49558)

1. Disaggregation of academic achievement data

(cf. 6162.51 - State Academic Achievement Tests)

2. Identification of students eligible for services under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act pursuant to 20 USC 6301-6576

(cf. 6171 - Title I Programs)

If a student transfers from the district to another county office of education program the County Superintendent or designee may share the student's meal eligibility information to the other educational agency to assist in the continuation of the student's meal benefits.

The County Superintendent or designee may release the name and eligibility status of a student participating in the free or reduced-price meal program to another school district, charter school, or county office of education that is serving a student living in the same household for purposes related to program eligibility and data used in local control funding formula calculations (Education Code 49558).

The County Superintendent or designee may release the name and eligibility status of a student participating in the free or reduced-price meal program to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for purposes of determining allocations under the local control funding formula and for assessing accountability of that funding. (Education Code 49558)

The County Superintendent or designee may release information on the school lunch program application to the local agency that determines eligibility for participation in the Medi-Cal program if the student has been approved for free meals or, if included in the agreement with the local agency, for reduced-price meals. He/she also may release information on the school lunch program application to the local agency that determines eligibility for CalFresh or another nutrition assistance program authorized under 7 CFR 210.1if the student has been approved for free or reduced-price meals. Information may be released for these purposes only if the student's parent/guardian consents to the sharing of the information and LACOE has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the local agency which, at a minimum, includes the roles and responsibilities of LACOE and the local agency, and the process for sharing the information. After sharing information with the local agency for purposes of determining eligibility for that program, no further information shall be shared unless otherwise authorized by law. (Education Code 49557.2, 49557.3, 49558)

(cf. 5141.6 - School Health Services)

Legal Reference:


48980 Notice at beginning of term

49430-49436 Pupil Nutrition, Health, and Achievement Act of 2001

49490-49494 School breakfast and lunch programs

49500-49505 School meals

49510-49520 Nutrition

49530-49536 Child Nutrition Act of 1974

49547-49548.3 Comprehensive nutrition service

49550-49564.5 Meals for needy students


15510 Mandatory meals for needy students

15530-15535 Nutrition education

15550-15565 School lunch and breakfast programs


1232g Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act

6301-6576 Elementary and Secondary Education Act


1751-1769h School lunch program

1771-1791 Child nutrition, especially:

1773 School breakfast program


210.1-210.31 National School Lunch Program

220.10-220.21 National School Breakfast Program

245.1-245.13 Determination of eligibility for free and reduced-price meals and free milk

Management Resources:


Monitoring for Success: A Guide for Assessing and Strengthening Student Wellness Policies, 2012

Student Wellness: A Healthy Food and Physical Activity Policy Resource Guide, rev. April 2012


Feed More Kids, Improve Program Participation

Direct Certification Implementation ChecklistFree and Reduced-Price Meals: Universal Meal Service, Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin SNP-01-2018, January 2018


Provision 2 Guidance: National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, Summer 2002

Eligibility Manual for School Meals: Determining and Verifying Eligibility July 2015



California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division:

California Food Policy Advocates:

California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition):

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service:


adopted: June 19, 2018 Downey, California