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GIS 16: Express Enrollment

Nutrition Services Division General Information Sheet

Programs: National School Lunch Program, Public School Districts, County Superintendents of Schools

Date: November 2005

Subject: Express Enrollment-Implementing New Legislation Regarding the Optional Sharing of National School Lunch Program Meal Applications for Medi-Cal Purposes

Reference: Senate Bill 1196, Chapter 729, Statutes of 2004; Management Bulletin 03-115, August 2003; Assembly Bill 59, Chapter 894, Statutes of 2001; California Education Code sections 49557, 49558


District Superintendents
Food Service Directors
District Child Development Center Directors
School Health Administrators

This notice provides information regarding the implementation of Senate Bill (SB) 1196, which amended California Education Code (EC) Section 49557.2, effective July 1, 2005. SB 1196 makes changes to the Express Enrollment (EE) program, created by Assembly Bill 59, effective July 1, 2003. (See Management Bulletin 03-115 at for EE implementation instructions.)

The information in this notice pertains only to school districts choosing to implement EE.

The EE program permits school districts to participate in a process allowing families to apply for Medi-Cal benefits for their children using the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) application. Children whose families provide optional information and parental consent on the NSLP application and are approved for free meals may be determined eligible for temporary Medi-Cal benefits by the school district. The district forwards the NSLP application to the county Medi-Cal office for a final eligibility determination for ongoing Medi-Cal coverage.

SB 1196 Summary

Beginning July 1, 2005, SB 1196 requires those districts choosing to implement EE to include linkages to Healthy Families and available county and locally sponsored health insurance programs, such as Healthy Kids. It also clarifies school district EE administrative procedures.

SB 1196 Implementation Guidance

Following is a summary of SB amendments to EC Section 49557.2, and the actions school districts choosing to participate in EE must take to implement them. (More detailed instructions for implementing EE are available on The Children's Partnership Express Lane Eligibility Web site at

  1. EC 49557.2(c) requires that counties (Medi-Cal offices) forward the EE application to the Healthy Families or county or locally sponsored health insurance programs if the child is determined to be ineligible for no-cost full-scope Medi-Cal, and the parent/guardian has provided consent.

California Department of Education
Naaz Rathore
Nutrition Services Division
Phone: 916-445-4839
Fax: 916-445-5731

Department of Health Services
Guadalupe (Lu) Sanchez
Medi-Cal Eligibility Branch
Phone: (916) 552-9474
Fax: (916) 552-9524

  • School districts choosing to implement EE must include specific EE program and confidentiality information in the standard NSLP Letter to Household (LTH) that accompanies the application. The CDE prototype LTH includes the required language.
  • School districts and counties must determine the availability of county or locally sponsored health insurance programs.

    If a county or locally sponsored program exists in the county of the participating district and if that local program is participating in EE, the NSLP application and LTH must include references to the county/local program. School districts and counties must work with the available local program to decide if and how the county Medi-Cal office will forward applications to the local program. School districts that are not in counties where a local program exists or the local program is not participating in EE should not include references to any county/local program in their EE school lunch materials.
  1. EC 49557.2(d) requires school districts to notify families who have provided consent on the NSLP application that, because their child is not eligible for free meals, he or she is not eligible for EE. The district's notice must also inform families of health coverage programs for which their child may be eligible.
  1. EC 49557.2(b)(1) allows school districts to specify staff who can view the school lunch applications with parental consent for the purposes of administering the EE program.
  1. EC 49557.2(a)(3) permits schools to add a separate parental consent to allow Medi-Cal offices to inform the school of the names and contact information of children who are in jeopardy of losing their Medi-Cal benefits because the child's parent/guardian has not provided Medi-Cal with all the information needed.
  1. EC 49557.2(b)(2) allows districts that have knowledge of a child's active Medi-Cal or Healthy Families case not to process the applications of these children for EE. Instead, districts are to inform the family of their child's active status and forward the application to the county for processing.

If you have any questions about EE, please contact Naaz Rathore, School Nutrition Programs Specialist, Nutrition Services Division, at 916-445-4839 or by e-mail at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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