Thursday, April 7, 2011

Is it Okay to Eliminate Lunch from the School Day?

We all know that school district's across the country are making budget cuts. But as they cut programs and shorten the school year, we have to ask ourselves whether some things are worth saving. Below is an excerpt from an article about a district in Ohio that is considering eliminating school lunch, among other things. What are your thoughts? Do you think school lunch is a necessary part of the school day, or is it something we can drop entirely?

LANCASTER -- One of the proposed cuts the Amanda-Clearcreek Board of Education has floated in the past couple of weeks in a spending reduction plan does not have much community support -- shortening the school day and eliminating school lunches.

Laura Julian, who has three children attending Amanda schools, said she didn't think much of the idea.

"My kids are definitely going to to get a lunch, if they have to bring it to school," Julian said. "When one of the my kids told me about the proposal, I thought she had it wrong. But let's hope the school levy passes this time and it doesn't become an issue."

The district has been working on the spending reduction plan for weeks and will have another work session Friday night before voting on the final spending reduction plan.

During the meeting Monday, Board President Patricia Williard explained that, if the district's five-year, 1.5 percent earned income tax levy failed in May and the board followed through with its proposed plan to cut staff members and shorten the school day, lunch no longer would be provided to the students.

Monday night, the decision on spending reductions was delayed primarily because of the lunch debate.

The reduction plan is designed to address state cuts introduced last week in Gov. John Kasich's budget plan. Under the state plan, the overall education budget would see an 11.5 percent decrease in the first year and a 4.9 percent decrease the second year that includes the loss of federal stimulus dollars.

During a special board meeting, the board slightly revised its spending reduction plan to reflect an 11.5 percent decrease.

Among the board's recommended spending reductions ... the school day would be shortened to five-and-a-half hours for all grades, resulting in the elimination of three custodial positions, and lunch...

However, the elimination of the school lunch seems to have parents and relatives of children uniformed in their opposition.

Carolyn Sheets, a grandmother of two attending Amanda schools, said she didn't support the elimination of lunches.

"The kids really need their lunch," Sheets said. "I volunteer at the school and the kids start talking about lunch about a half hour before they go. It's pretty important to some of them."

John Anderson, who has a great-nephew attending Amanda schools, said the idea was "ridiculous."

"We got everyone telling us how important nutrition is and getting your meals," Anderson said. "I don't think it makes any sense."

To read more, click here.

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