Two bills affecting school nutrition in Texas were passed during the 84th Legislative Session and signed into law by the Governor. One of the new laws offers an alternative way to fund school breakfast for students eligible for free or reduced price meals and the other addresses policies for students purchasing meals after their prepaid funds are exhausted. The bills are effective immediately.
HB 1305—Breakfast Mandate
Starting with School Year 2015-2016, public and charter schools that are mandated to offer breakfast may operate a locally funded breakfast program in lieu of the federally funded School Breakfast Program.
School districts or charter schools may have schools that operate the School Breakfast Program and other schools that operate a locally funded breakfast program. In these cases, the school district or charter school must fully fund its locally funded breakfast program from resources other than the Child Nutrition Program.
Locally funded breakfast programs are eligible for state compensatory funding. Please note state compensatory funding is administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
HB 3562—Charge Policy
If a school district allows students to use prepaid meal cards or accounts to purchase school meals, the district must establish a grace period during which a student is able to charge meals after the prepaid funds are exhausted.
The school district must also notify the student’s parent or guardian that the student’s meal card or account balance is exhausted. The district is not allowed to charge a fee or interest in connection with meals purchased by the students during the grace period. When the school district notifies the student’s parent or guardian that the student has a negative balance, the district may set a repayment schedule for the meal charges.