For example, California recently passed a bill (Assembly Bill No. 1871) that requires charter schools to provide needy pupils “one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday.” The bill pointed out that California is home to more charter schools and charter school pupils in the country, but the charter schools were exempt from offering low-income pupils a daily, free or reduced-price, nutritious school meal. The research pointed out that more than 340,000 of the 630,000 charter school pupils are considered low income. Cited in the bill was that meals support health, growth, and learning.
In California, this new mandated legislature may require Charter Schools to implement a school meal program for the first time. Some schools may not have adequate kitchen facilities or a facility at all. In this case, schools may seek alternative resources to support a new or modified school meal program. One option is preparing meals at a school district’s central location and delivering the meals to each school. Another option might include contracting with a vendor to have meals prepared and delivered. Finally, another option that offers more control is to have a modular or containerized kitchen onsite at the school. Whether a temporary or permanent solution, Charter Schools are preparing to become operational quickly.
With research finding that “school meals are essential to supporting the academic achievement and fundamental well-being of all pupils,” schools in California and across the country are challenged with providing adequate meals to aid youth to learn, grow, and achieve. School districts are continually evaluating operations and seeking creative solutions to help support the students, operations, service, and quality.