Honorable Dan Huberty, Chair, House Committee on Public Education
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB2159 by Giddings (Relating to school district grace period policies and the provision of meals to public school students with insufficient balances on prepaid meal cards or meal accounts.), Committee Report 1st House, Substituted
No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would amend the Education Code relating to overdue or negative balances on student meal accounts. The bill would require a school district to establish a grace period determined by the board of trustees of the district for a student whose meal account becomes exhausted, and to make at least one attempt each week of the grace period to obtain overdue payment from parents or guardians of the student. After expiration of the grace period, if the school district was unable to secure repayment, the district would be allowed to permit the student to continue purchasing meals or may provide alternate meals. The bill would establish that negative balances on a student's meal account at the end of a school year may be paid through private donations made for that purpose. The bill would require districts to protect the identities of affected students. Current law allows for the accumulation of a negative balance or the extension of credit on student meal accounts, and prohibits fees or interest from being charged on overdue accounts.
The bill would take effect immediately if it received a vote of two-thirds of all elected members of each chamber of the Legislature, or otherwise on September 1, 2017.
Local Government Impact
The bill would result in some costs to school districts to extend credit and provide free meals to students with overdue meal accounts. The amounts would vary from district to district depending on whether the district offered prepaid meal cards or accounts, the number of students to incur and maintain negative balances, the number of free meals provided by each district, and the amounts of private donations received by school districts for the purpose of reimbursing negative student meal balances.