On August 8th, 2017 Governor Kate Brown signed into law House Bill 3454. The bill outlines practices and communication that are not allowed in Oregon school cafeterias. The law is intended to reduce or remove practices and communications that have been deemed as “shaming” to students regarding the collection of funds in exchange for meals or identification of balances for unpaid meals.
Key points of the bill include:
- Parent or guardian must provide written permission to withhold meal from student or establish a charging limit.
- The district shall contact households to determine Free or Reduced-price eligibility; repeat contact if owing more than five (5) meals. Offer assistance in completing Free or Reduced-price meal application.
- Not publicly identify student who cannot pay for meal or owes money for meal.
- Not serve an alternative meal to a student who cannot pay
- Shall communicate about monies owed to parent or guardian and not student
- May not assess fees related to collections agencies to parent or guardian
Current impacts of this bill include an increased balance of unpaid meal charges for students of all income categories. If you would like to donate to the non-profit food service account you can donate at your local school by cash or check, or you may donate online via myschoolbucks.com. Your donation may be tax-deductible (please contact your tax professional).
For specific language of the bill, click here.