Budget Letter: Support for School Meal Investments

The Honorable Nancy Skinner, Chair

Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee

1020 N Street, Room 502

Sacramento, CA 95814


The Honorable Phil Ting, Chair

Assembly Committee on Budget 

1021 O Street, Suite 8230

Sacramento, CA 95814 


RE: Support for School Meal Investments in the 20222023 Fiscal Year Budget

Dear Senator Skinner and Assemblymember Ting, 

Our coalition thanks you for your vision and leadership that helped California become the first state in the nation to provide free breakfast and lunch to all K–12 students. As the nation now looks to California as a model, it is more important than ever that we succeed in not only making nutritious school meals accessible to every student, but also ensuring that the food is the best it can be for our students, our economy, and our planet. 

On behalf of our organizations, we respectfully request your support for the following measures outlined in the Governor’s proposed 2022–2023 budget to ensure the success of, and build upon, California’s School Meals for All policy:

  1. $596 million in Proposition 98 funding, on top of $54 million provided in the 2021 Budget Act, to fund universal access to school meals, for a total of $650 million; 
  2. $450 million in one-time Proposition 98 funding, available over three years, to upgrade school kitchen infrastructure and equipment to incorporate more fresh, minimally processed, California-grown food in school meals; and
  3. $30 million in one-time General Fund money to establish new farm to school demonstration projects and $3 million in ongoing funding to expand the regional California Farm to School Network by adding 16 new positions at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. 
  4. $611.8 million to provide an enhanced state reimbursement rate for school meals so schools can maintain program revenues after the federal waivers expire at the end of this school year.

These measures will help improve food quality, increase student access to healthy school meals, strengthen connections between California farmers and schools, and enable school districts to serve more freshly-prepared school meals.

Our coalition looks forward to working with the legislature to help ensure that (1) incentives are provided for school food procurement to better support local economies, climate goals, and socially-disadvantaged farmers; (2) research and analysis is performed to evaluate the impacts of California’s School Meals for All policy; (3) school nutrition professionals have the training they need to freshly prepare school meals, and (4) student nutrition is supported during school breaks and closures. 

If funded, these critical investments will provide an economic boost to rural and agricultural communities, help mitigate climate change, fight child hunger, strengthen regional school food supply chains, and support school nutrition workers. For these reasons, we, the undersigned, are proud to support these funding proposals and urge investing in these critical programs to build upon California’s legacy of transforming school food programs. 


Kat Taylor, Office of Kat Taylor 

Kathy Webster, TomKat Ranch 

Arnold Sowell, Jr., NextGen California

Zenobia Barlow, Center for Ecoliteracy 

Itzúl Gutierrez, California Association of Food Banks 

Rebecca Ward, Acalanes Union School District

Lauren Weston, Acterra: Action for a Healthy Planet

Patricia Carrillo, Agriculture & Land Based Training Association

Susan Park, Asian Americans for Housing and Environmental Justice

Jenny Wong, Berkeley City Auditor

Meghan Adelman, CA Nurses for Environmental Health & Justice

Lydia C. Bourne, California School Nurses Organization 

Claudia Cart , California Wheat Commission 

Michelle Hernandez, Carpinteria Unified School District

Meghan Maroney, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Mara Fleishman, Chef Ann Foundation

Adele Gemignani, Coke Farm

Marvin J. Deon II, Common Sense Media

Genoveva Islas, Cultiva La Salud

Yvonne Montoya, Davoya CDC

Nora LaTorre, Eat REAL

Chris Helfrich, Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation

Nadia Rosen, Epic Farmshop

Mireya Gómez-Contreras, Esperanza Community Farms

Jacob M. Becher, Farmivore, Inc

Timothy Page, FEED Cooperative

Debbie Espinosa, FIND Food Bank 

Cassidie Carmen Bates, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

Monica White, Food Share of Ventura County

Cassie Spindler, FoodCorps

Stephanie Raugust, FoodLab

Laura deTar, Fresh Approach

Kevan Insko, Friends Committee on Legislation of California

Alvin Hong Lee, GENup

Kathleen M. King, Healthier Kids Foundation

Healthy Day Partners, Healthy Day Partners

Michael Flood, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Jennifer McNeil, LunchAssist

Micha James, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District

Julie F. Morris, Morris Grassfed

Claire Lipschultz, National Council of Jewish Women CA

Deborah Lelchuk, National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Long Beach & West Orange County Section

Linda Mendelsohn, National Council of Jewish Women, Saddleback Section

Ellyn Levinson, National Council of Jewish Women, San Francisco Bay Area

Karen Spangler, National Farm to School Network

Katherine Rivera, Orion Alternative School

Elizabeth Powell, Pasadena Unified School District

Mary Fell, Pleasanton Unified School District

Oussama Mokeddem, Public Health Advocates

Carrie Richards, Richards Grassfed Beef

Blake Young, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

Fred Espinosa, San Diego Unified School District

Meg Davidson, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

Erin Primer, San Luis Coastal Unified School District

Lauren Weston, San Mateo County Food Systems Alliance

Malia Cary, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County

Willy Elliott-McCrea, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County

Marcos Aguila , Semillas – Anahuacalmecac World School

Miriam Limov, Sierra Harvest

Claire Tuohey Mote, Slow Money San Luis Obispo

Katie Ettman, SPUR

Meghan O’Reilly-Green, Starship PTO, Orion Alternative Elementary 

Lisa and Lore Poncia, Stemple Creek Ranch

Lydia Bransten, The Gubbio Project

Malea Chavez, The Women’s Building

Charlie Hoffs, unBox

Barbara Jellison, West Contra Costa Unified School District

Suzanne Falzone, Yolo Farm to Fork

Zane Hatfield, Yolo Food Bank


First Partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond

Secretary Karen Ross, California Department of Food & Agriculture

Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins 

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon

Members of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee 

Members of the Assembly Committee on Budget 

Ana Matosantos, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Director Keely Bosler, California Department of Finance