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Yep, lunch is free for all students in some Florida schools

By   /   October 18, 2013  /   News  /   85 Comments

FREE LUNCH: Whether students can afford to pay or not, feds offer schools free lunch at some Florida schools.

FREE LUNCH: Whether students can afford to pay or not, feds offer schools free lunch at some Florida schools.


By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE — Want a free lunch? Take a seat at your local school cafeteria.

A new federal program is giving Florida’s public schools a way out of verifying whether students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

The solution: expand subsidized meals to include all students whether they can afford to pay or not.

Known as the Community Eligibility Option, schools and even entire districts can now receive free breakfast and lunch if 40 percent or more of students’ families are identified as low-income.

That includes 83 Duval County schools, 58 schools in Pinellas County and 48 schools in Polk County — to name three of Florida’s 67 eligible counties.

Students whose families receive food stamps, cash assistance or are Head Start eligible automatically count towards a school’s qualifying percentage.

Extending federal benefits to those who may not need them is going too far, critics argue.

While it’s unpopular for public officials to oppose programs that purport to help needy children, some experts say there is more to CEO than meets the eye.

Joy Pullman, an education senior fellow at the free-market Heartland Institute, told Florida Watchdog, “The Congressional Budget Office estimated this program would cost taxpayers an extra $11 billion for just the first 11 states that participate.”

“Federal school lunch programs also encourage families to think they don’t need to be responsible for feeding their own children,” Pullmann said. “But, more practically, when the feds subsidize something, they get to define all the parameters.”

CEO was established under the Healthy, Hungry Free Kids Act of 2010. Florida became eligible this year, and the program will become a nationwide option in the 2014-15 school year.

According to advocacy groups like the Food Research Action Center and No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices, program benefits include eliminating the collection and processing of subsidized meal applications, reducing social stigmas by offering all students the same meals at no charge, and opportunities to adopt other programs like Breakfast in the Classroom.

Scholars like Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute have long held that subsidized breakfast and lunch programs no longer serve their intended purpose of reducing hunger.

Florida Watchdog contacted the Cato Institute for comment but was referred to Edwards’s 2009 report, which states that subsidized school meals may ironically “contribute to the problems of excess weight and obesity in many young people.”

There’s also a question of fairness, Pullman said. “Federal administrators plan to raise lunch prices for middle-class and wealthy families to offset these costs,” she said.

The normal application process still exists in non-qualifying Florida schools. Even then, verifying whether students are eligible for the entitlement has its limits.

According to the National School Lunch Act, school districts are only required to confirm the reported income of 3 percent (or 3,000, whichever is less) of submitted applications.

The low threshold combined with lax verification efforts often leads to higher-income families receiving subsidies intended for the truly needy, Edwards said.

A recent Miami-Dade County Public Schools inspector general’s report cited a South Florida teacher who gamed the free lunch system by fraudulently understating her income by $58,000 on her application.

According to the report, she was not only able to acquire free meals for her children, but as a result, obtained free tutoring, free test waivers and free college applications totaling more than $2,000.

Advocates consider the reported increase in the number of students eating free breakfasts and lunches in participating states as evidence the program is working. Skeptics like Pullman aren’t buying it.

“The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act caused a record number of school districts (approximately 200) to drop federal lunch subsidies,” she said.

“The best way to empower communities and families is to address their problems locally.”

Contact William Patrick at [email protected] or follow Florida Watchdog on Twitter at @watchdogfla Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!


William Patrick is Watchdog.org’s Florida reporter. His work has been featured by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and Townhall.com, as well as other national news and opinion websites. He’s also been cited and reposted by numerous state news organizations, including Florida Trend, Sunshine State News and the Miami Herald, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Florida Press Association. William’s work has impacted discussions on education, privacy, criminal justice reform, and government and corporate accountability. Prior to joining Watchdog, William worked for the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. There, he launched a legislative news website covering state economic issues. After leaving New York City in 2010, William worked for the Florida Attorney General’s Office where he assisted state attorneys general in prosecuting Medicaid Fraud. William graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three young children.

  • AirFrank

    Clearly unConstitutional. We have lost our great nation to a bunch of freeloaders.

  • lily

    It is also free in several Kentucky school systems too.

  • fredb

    Why is the Federal government even allowed in our local schools? Schools are a local issue and the feds should take their free lunch bribes elsewhere.

  • Mom and Dad who work

    I gave our 13 year old a check for lunch for the month the first day of school, when he brought it back home and told me lunch was free I was not happy. They have free breakfast too but I still make him eat breakfast at home. If this was done to prevent fraud then maybe they should have stiffer penalties for those who under report their income instead of having free breakfast and lunch for all. The state seems to be trying to take away a parents responsibility for feeding their children, feels like socialism to me.

  • Conservative American

    Our nation borrows forty two cents of every dollar we spend. Right now that’s about $2,663,233.00 every minute. Programs like this just display some of the excessive waste that leads to that type of debt. It isn’t a free lunch, when they get older they will be the ones paying for that lunch big-time.

  • John Philippi

    What a waste of tax money!

  • Dawn Breidenbach

    It’s a two way street. Districts want the free lunch money they get from the feds. Take a look at what is required to be in a school lunch, no sane parent would want their kids eating that garbage.

  • Brian

    Seems to me if you get EBT to feed your family, it should be reduced by the number of meals that you don’t have to pay for at school? If you have kids in school, that’s almost 48% of the kid’s meals that don’t go on EBT.

  • be12345

    More socialist programs for the low income. Why try? Why work? The harder you work, the more you get to pay for the ones who don’t. There is no more American Dream.

  • be12345

    It is socialism which usually turns into communism. Ask the people of China, Cuba and Russia what that was/is like. Even Castro has admitted that communism doesn’t work.

  • Larry

    Somebody “is” paying for it … it’s called “working taxpayers!”

  • Michael Wilson

    While I agree with your stance it would be just as problematic to “enforce” these “takers”. I see involving some enforcement agency (cops, school board, etc.) to conduct the investigation, lawyers and judges to apply the fines/penalties (which probably would go unpaid anyway) and then the larger problem of “what then”. As you know most of the kids who receive free meals have no control whatsoever in their parents activities and unfortunately they are the ones who would suffer. With that said, I think the best way for the Government to “help” these people is place them on a work related program. Encourage self-dependence, encourage work and tie benefits to those efforts. If these “takers won’t even try to help themselves why should the taxpayers? Government sponsored clean up programs, mow the neighbors yard, sweep the streets are all things that could be done to minimize the impact to the taxpayer. I agree with the philosophy of no work, no benefits. At least make the effort and stop sitting around expecting everyone else to support laziness

  • equalRightsForTheMiddleClass!

    That’s great. Why should the “free” lunch only go to those whose parents didn’t get an education, didn’t work hard, didn’t make the right decisions? If you are going to give away food to those who don’t do anything for it, give it to everyone, including those who are footing the bills.

  • craigmk1974

    There was a time when parents raised their kids. Today it’s the taxpayers doing it. Government has become the new mommy and daddy. This is what the Democrat Party wants, a society dependent on government. The decline of America is well on its way.

  • Extremophil

    Free lunch for all students probably should have been a part of school all along. Proper nutrition goes along with a proper education.

  • toledojim

    I think we are getting close to the day the music died. Lets face it those who work pay the bill those who don’t reap the freebies. Don’t get me wrong, no one in America should be without food, but, why able bodied people should just be given everything and give nothing in return, except a vote, is just pathetic. But it’s becoming clear that the socialist agenda is taking hold and the welfare state lives on. It is just sad for me to see the shape we’re leaving our country in for our kids and grand kids and that we haven’t learned from the sacrifices of our fathers.

  • R Sava

    The problem with this (and all government handouts) is two-fold:
    1) The reliance on someone else (the government in this case) to provide for you sets up a destruction of society. God created Adam, placed him in the Garden of Eden and told him to go to work. He did not say “Sit back and relax, I will GIVE you everything without you having to do anything.”
    2) What the ones who do/want this (liberals mostly) don’t understand is that if we waste money on this (and other out of control programs) we have less money to do REAL things for those who actually need it.
    Why on earth should the government waste money on feeding my kids if I can afford it? Because it is about control.
    Wake up America!

  • preach86

    Why not, we support everybody else in this world, even those who try to kill us. The worst thing is we don’t get any real benefit from it, only our enemies does. Charity begins at home. Everyone else is free loading off the government including those who take advantage of loopholes, tax breaks, and ridicules government contracts. I wonder who foots the bill.

  • Falcon 78

    Send me–an actual taxpayer–a thank you note for handing out more ‘free stuff’ in the name of the government. Seriously, ‘someone’ else IS paying so that others get it free. No pun intended, but there really is “no free lunch.” Even if you are someone getting this free lunch, please consider/think if you can the implications for our society. How long do you think this can go on before the house of cards crashes? Just don’t be in the wrong place when the music stops. I lay this behavior squarely on the Democrats in general–giving away free stuff by other people paying for it.

  • Do they send them home at the end of the day with a big sack of monkey-chow for dinner?

  • Billy bob

    Agreed….parents have less and less responsibility for their children. I work in the education system…..we feed children breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner, we get them back and forth to school (no matter how badly they behave on the bus), we get them school supplies, and recently I found out that we will supply parents with the means to “lock up” prescription drugs so your kids can’t get into them. For every example where “parenting ” is needed, the government can step in and do it for you. Poor parents…..let us help you because you can’t do it right…and hey, you can owe us one later….

  • bluecheese81

    Good news indeed! I would love to see more govt. money spent on our kids. Schools and hospitals should be accessible to everyone for free. Cut the defense budget and foreign aid and we would not have this mess with shutdown and our debt going up and we would improve quality of life for everyone. Our priorities are so messed up.

  • Move to North Korea for your Socialist-Utopia fantasy life!

  • Julie Marquez

    This is a good start but I believe it would be cheaper just give free lunches to everyone at all schools Period. Why should families be discriminated against because they have a job and can support their family? Aren’t they the ones who pay the taxes? Imagine all the paperwork the schools have to file just to make sure the kids qualify not to mention the manpower. It would simplify the system.

  • bluecheese81

    I grew up in Europe and know what socialism is and now have been living in the US for more than a decade. I have no problems with government handouts. You should try it. You may like it. Having a great welfare system in place sure makes you feel better by just knowing if something unexpected happens you can get help. I am not talking about lifetime spent on government dime. I am talking about my family not going homeless/hungry in case I lose my job. Short time help available to those who need it. There is nothing wrong with that right?

    These ‘constitution’ and ‘big government’ issues don’t make any sense to me. I guess Europe is a little bit different…

  • Sgt. York

    what is done with the wasted food after lunch?

  • Shipped to DC, where Michelle composts it in her gut.

  • fredb

    We have charities in this country for people that need help. Our country does not believe in doing these things through cold hearted government bureaucrats but instead through caring charities that have a sincere interest. With government programs all that results is waste fraud and corruption.

  • jl morgan

    Hmm – with this level of Federal ‘subsidy’, one wonders what the cost is to the State? – with the mandated expansion…
    maybe the ‘gift’ is not worth it….

  • Jjracing

    No your supposed to take care of yourself and your family you sad liberal pinko commie leave the military out of it it’s constitutional free lunches aren’t some of us grew up and wear big boy pants and pay our way last i checked the pilgrims didn’t come looking for a free lunch they came to get away from your type Europe or N Korea would be a good place for your type anti American idiot don’t forget your bag of trash pres we don’t want his anti American a$$ either plus pubic schools are joke no time for that though gotta get back to paying for free lunches

  • freespritman

    God told him to go to work.
    Was that before or after Adam sinned?

  • cbcnd1

    Teach them to depend on the government at an early age and they won’t think twice about depending on the government for the rest of their lives.

  • MycaW

    We do take care of our families. My paycheck is cut almost in half by taxes and social security. On top of paying tax after tax after tax, my kids don’t benefit from any of these programs. It would be much easier to deal with the constant outflow of money from my paycheck if my kid got lunch with all the other kids, or the subsidized dental wagon or the health care.

  • MycaW

    While the children in the above photo are all blonde, these are not the only children that benefit from this program. Feed the kids. We pay for it in taxes. I would much rather see it go towards children for food and tutoring.

  • Nothing is for free

    Kids with proper nutrition do better during the school day. But the breakfast and lunch menus are full of frozen and highly processed foods = equaling high fat and sodium content = equaling unhealthy food. Eating that junk creates health problems. No thanks I would rather pack my kids lunch and go without myself! If it was healthy food with proper nutrition and exercise lessons taught for all I would be for it.

  • Publius Publicola

    The florida free lunch is all about converting Florida to a blue state forever. They just started a simliar program in Dallas county texas.
    If you can get everyone dependent upon the freebies the government who will always be in power? The founders created a gov’t a few steps away from anarchy making the individual the owner of his own destiny. The liberals actually believe society would be better maintained and controlled by relying on the opposite; bigger government and control over the individual.

  • Hunter Bonner

    They have a similar program here in Denton. At the elementary schools, they partnered with Kelloggs, which I know is a private company, but now the school gives breakfast to not only all students regardless of income, but, get ready for this, staff as well. Can you believe that?

  • Publius Publicola

    A better question perhaps to ask is what other states have decided to take this gold ring from the government or is it starting to show up in red states.

  • Publius Publicola

    O crap.

  • R. D. M.

    this is a good thing. We never charged kids when they went to the nurse, this was a cost that was built in to the budget. I guess if conservatives had their way, only kids with money would be able to see the school nurse. Health care shouldn’t be free right?

  • Publius Publicola

    You are partially correct. The school nurse is part of the school tax system. However do you want someone qualified to determine if a child has an infectious disease or lice, if your child attended that school. Schools are a breeding ground for contagious diseases. Luckily immunization has reduced a lot of the more serious ones. For every do gooder cause though there is an economic and moral consequence. When do you draw the line, there in lies the problem. Free lunches for school kids, how about all the teachers and staff too? If we had an efficient government it might be easier to justify this, but I am not seeing it yet.

  • Casey Brown-Myers

    Why don’t we quit pussy-footing around. Let’s
    go ahead and complete this socialist makeover now and give everyone free
    food, assigned employment, a single payer healthcare system and penalize
    the wealthy by redistributing their ill-gotten-gains. Everyone should
    look to the government for their survival and it’s high time we get on
    the Obama train before it leaves the station. I give up, I’m throwing
    in the towel…..

  • bratdawg29

    For the record, the newer food program menus are very tight on calories and fat and salt. I went over them recently with Sysco representatives. If schools are following those, and they get in trouble if they aren’t, they are much different than the mystery meats and such of yesteryear.

  • Johnathan Huntington

    You got it right. Once the children are dependent on government handouts, the government then controls what you can have. The same goal is the Obama care. The government will decide what Health insurance you can have after all the private insurance companies pull out of the health insurance market.

  • Publius Publicola

    You missed a couple. Bulldoze all the urban areas; with forced relocation into government housing. And don’t forget force commune farming and commune factory workers. Oh Oh and how bout screening all potential parents for possible birth defects and abort any fetus’s that would not be a helpful member of society. Long live the state!!!

  • Publius Publicola

    And for the record its been documented that the amount of food going to waste can under the Queen’s directive has been going into the trash in record amounts.

  • Johnathan Huntington

    They also won’t think twice about looting and stealing from the taxpayers whenever another glitch like the EBT card scare. Remember the looters of Walmart after Hurricane Katrina? True video’s of greedy shoppers with no conscience filled up their shopping carts with all they could and checked out. This is exactly the kind of mentality that is created when you are dependent upon government for survival. An mind set that says I am entitled; society owes me a living.

  • humdrummum

    After. Before he sinned, God provided everything. The thing is, too many people think the government is God and should supply everything they need.

  • disqus_hhK1R4KIWc

    When do the parents own up to the responsibility for their children. My Dad worked 3 jobs a day and never went to a welfare line to ask for anything free. He never allowed us to go hungry, even if we were sick of eating cheese sandwiches or potted meat. We went to bed with our bellies full even if it was an ear of corn and a tortilla.

  • Rationalista2

    Be sure to thank your local low information and narcissistic self absorbed single issue voters for helping Americans to gradually adjust to socialism and complete government control with programs like this…

    Truly, Lenin was accurate when he described these people as “useful idiots”…

  • disqus_hhK1R4KIWc

    A friend who is a school teacher tells us the waste of food is ridiculous. If the kids don’t like it because it is healthy, they toss it in the trash and pull out snack cakes and candy from their bags. It has gotten to the point that the teachers have to buy supplies for the students because they expect that to be free too! Their parents drive SUV’s but they won’t buy lunch or supplies, but they have designer clothes on. While I pay my taxes for their litter and wear Walmart clothing!

  • alfy

    obama’s future voters

  • sally Ride

    Sorry, but School Nurses do not provide health care; they provide a room for a student to stay until the parent arrives at school to retrieve the sick student.

  • anron4581

    Lol ”free” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a cost. Where do you think they will turn when they need more money? That’s right, the tax payer!

  • david95

    One word really confuses me. “SOME”. So which schools are discriminated against?

  • david95

    “Good news indeed! I would love to see more of your money spent on our kids. Schools and hospitals should be accessible to everyone for free.”

    Plus, this article is NOT about accessibility to schools and hospitals. Are you suggesting if this food for free program was removed, these kids would not have accessibility to schools or hospitals anymore?

    Fixed for accuracy, since Government has no money.

  • mike3121

    Just wait, I bet that the Obama Administration is looking into an adult feeding program. The dinner table is often the only time the whole family gets together. Imagine the possibilities of indoctrination by the federal government if you had the whole family. The Soviet Union used this method for indoctrination purposes. “Never happen here,” you say.

  • david95

    Only if they supply the big sack.

  • Cadel

    A friend is a middle school teacher in FL with low level kids. She says they complain about being poor all the time while walking around in their $200 sneakers and their $200 jeans and the girls with their $500 pocketbooks all playing on their iphones and ipads. It makes her sick.

  • RenegadeScholar

    What obesity problem…?

    Isn’t it strange that the biggest health problems facing our “poor” are obesity and diabetes?

    So the answer to obese poor people is to take my money to give MORE FOOD to EVERYONE…?

  • RenegadeScholar

    I guess Europe is a little bit different…


    In America, poor people are the most Obese. Hunger? Gimmeabreak.

    Also, in America, charities, homeless shelters, and free food establishments are run by private donations. Europeans don’t donate–they just expect SOMEONE ELSE to take care of the problem.

  • Concerned Citizen

    The Department of Defense has been continually defunded and cut on since the Department of Homeland Security has been getting funded and armed almost as well as the military.

    Over 50% of my property taxes go to my local schools. Then another 25% goes to the county school system. The last 25% goes to whatever else the state wants to use it for. I don’t like federalization of our schools. I pay into the local schools and think our schools should be run locally by the people and board of education that work and pay into the system. Everytime the Feds put money into education it doesn’t improve anything at all. If the Feds wanted to contribute to the teachers salaries to bring them out of the near poverty level it would go much further in selecting quality teachers who truly care for the children rather than putting all these requirements on them on the federal level without supporting their wages. Each school district within the same county and state has a different pay scale based on their local tax base and the education should be that way as well and get rid of the Feds Common Core. It is all a way to indoctrinate our children because we won’t fold to the government so they only have to wait for a generation of government dependent voters to come of age.

  • Publius Publicola

    That is a great sentence and describes a friend whom I have been trying to understand. Hes very well educated, aethist, but seems to think that since he has done well, all our taxes money should be pooled to help the poor rather than have him donate his abundance of cash. Its so bizarre to be in a conversation with him because his responses are based upon emotion rather than from an educated and logical perspective, regardless of historical facts.

  • Publius Publicola

    It would certainly make it easier to introduce federally produced
    soylent green. 🙂

  • Publius Publicola

    Well put. Our poor according to the latest studies, hands down are some of the most well off in the world.

  • Rationalista2

    Most atheists do respond emotionally rather than with facts. That’s why they can believe in something like evolution and that nothing can create all of creation. They have no authoritative basis other than themselves to argue an issue with, and so truth becomes relative to them. They are left to their own autonomous subjective interpretation to validate their position.

    A good book to read when talking to atheists is “You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can’t Make Him Think” by Ray Comfort.

  • Publius Publicola

    Lets look at this using a more recent example. When the entire country has free lunches for the schools, because its the humane thing to do. What happens when there’s a budget crisis again, due to lack of consensus on both sides and all of the sudden the party in power says “Gosh we’re not gonna be able to fund the school lunch program”. Too bad its that evil other party causing the problem. Who’s your daddy now?!!!

  • Curts

    If that person is a “sad liberal pinko commie”, I assume you wish to be referred to as an “angry fascist white man”. Doesn’t sound nice does it, but I bet I got at least 2 out of 3. I guess in order to bring down the federal government name calling is required. How does it go? the only thing the government should do is have a military. Little or know government regulations. No money for education, social security, health care. No FBI, DEA, EPA, ect.. Well, where is your horse and buggy? I own a business and under your system of government I can pay my employee’s $1.00 an hour, and with every other business man out there doing the same and no government regulation to say I have to pay overtime or for all the hours you work as well profits will soar.With a take care of yourself and the hell with everybody else philosophy You would fit right in with those in the dark ages (if you believe history goes back that far) or Wall Street. In fact, it sounds like a wall street philosophy. Based on your education level I don’t think you would get very far in the world you want to bring about. Unless you live a life of crime, a truly libertarian if there ever was one.

  • Publius Publicola

    Thank you. Great title I have been looking for a new book to read. Another one on my list is Dennis Pragers “Still the best hope: Why the world needs American Values to triumph”.

  • Michael

    I thought the problem was that poor kids where obese:

    “Obesity rates increased by 10 percent for all U.S. children 10- to 17-years old between 2003 and 2007, but by 23 percent during the same time period for low-income children (Singh et al., 2010a). This national study of more than 40,000 children also found that in 2007, children from lower income households had more than two times higher odds of being obese than children from higher income households.” – Food Research Action Center

    Perhaps they should reverse the policy. If 40% of the district is poor make everyone pay.

  • Curts

    Gee, I wonder how many government handouts you get and don’t even know it. Make sure you never call a cop, paramedic, fireman, or doctor. These are funded by big government. And when you can’t work anymore, you’re no good to anybody and you should just kill yourself. And don’t you dare take Medicaid or Medicare or your a pinko commie.

  • Publius Publicola

    Isn’t it ironic that Liberals pursuit of happiness per the constitution, always has no boundaries upon which they impose upon the rest of the populous

  • Rationalista2

    The only hope any of us have is the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ…

  • breitbartidiots

    No kid should have to go hungry at school in America.

  • Debby Martin

    And your point is –

  • We also have unemployment insurance if something happens to our job. Food assistance and housing should be temporary help and not depended on for one’s lifetime. America attitude is much different here as are our beliefs in the right to own firearms and freedom of speech. Europe is gone overboard on political correctiveness and makes for a loss of rights, especially speech.

  • mom_of_6

    Here in south TX our whole district eats free as well. Letting everyone eat free is expensive, but the food portions contribute to that problem too. My kinder kid gets the same portion of food as my 5th grader AND HS kid, because the school is required to. I can’t tell you how much food I see wasted when I go to lunch with my kinder kid:/

  • Ever hear of parental responsibility?

  • You are missing the point. WE pay taxes for the cop, paramedic,fireman, etc….. What we hate is lazy fat welfare suck offs that never pay income taxes that pay for this. Not one person here said anything about not helping people that are just temporarily out of work or disabled. People like you won’t quit till you ruin the country completely.

  • You extreme in your logic. We pay too much tax to give to the almost half of us that don’t pay income taxes. Taking all incentive to work is not going to solve any problems. BTW, the SNAP program is the fasting growing segment of our government. If you like Socialism then just move to Europe because there are still many of us that do not want that form of government.

  • Debby Martin

    I’m curious, blucheese81. If living in a socialist (let’s face it – communist – because that’s what it really boils down to) is so great than why are you HERE? Why aren’t you still back THERE in your so-called great welfare system getting your government hand-outs with no problems. I think you’re a liar and a fraud using the internet as a way to spread liberal, democratic lies. I don’t believe that you ever lived in Europe under this so-called Utopia. If you did, you’d be a fool to leave it. So what are you, bluechees81? A liar or a fool?

  • Barbara

    For the record, I work in a public school cafeteria, and while the guidelines are rigidly met for what is considered a “reimbursable meal” (and yes, ALL meals are partially subsidized), anyone, including those on free and reduced lunches, can purchase chips, cookies, donuts, candy, ice cream novelties, Gatorade, and on and on, AND THEY DO!! They trash what they don’t want that they get free and load up on the junk! It’s a travesty!

  • sandyfromchesterfield

    They are going to need the money they are spending on school lunches to implement Common Core. Can you say Cloward and Piven?

  • tcdesalvo

    I can see it coming. Drop your kid off with the “state” at age 5. Pick them back up after their mandatory 2 year military service at age 20.

  • davidhoffman

    In some high poverty school districts you get to a point where you are spending such a large amount of time and money on eligibility verification, that it would be better to reduce overhead and just put all the children into the system. Drastic reduction of eligibility administration costs. One other variable concerning the breakfast program is travel time to school. For students who ride buses traffic increased congestion in some areas has created a need for earlier and earlier wake up times. Where 30 years ago the pick up time was 6:45am, now it is 6:00am. There goes breakfast time. It is all you can do to get them up at 5:15am, dressed, and to the bus stop on time. Traffic in my town in the morning is much more congested than 30 years ago. The buses have to run earlier. So an increasing number of the children came to school having had no breakfast or a non nutritious one, more than once a week. So you decide that instead of having to constantly deal with this or that child and getting them something to eat, you will provide a low preparation cost breakfast for all the students. Send the breakfast kits to the classrooms so you do not waste time shuffling students to and from the cafeteria. Teachers report that the significantly improved behavior and attentiveness in morning classes is worth the hassle of dealing with the breakfast logistics. You can have variety with no requirement for serious cooking by eliminating eggs and breakfast meats. Whole wheat mini bagels or rolls, cold cereal, cold pieces of fruit, juice, and milk are all non cooking or heating options that get rid of the labor and energy costs associated with cooking.