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Published:February 25th, 2009 16:08 EST
Cold Cheese Sandwich And Milk For School Lunch?

Cold Cheese Sandwich And Milk For School Lunch?

By Robert Paul Reyes

When I was a kid we always made fun of the cafeteria food, but we usually gobbled it up. But some children in New Mexico are eating a lunch meal so boring that it makes a typical school cafeteria offering seem like a gourmet meal.

"A cold cheese sandwich, fruit and a milk carton might not seem like much of a meal - but that`s what`s on the menu for students in New Mexico`s largest school district without their lunch money.

Faced with mounting unpaid lunch charges in the economic downturn, Albuquerque Public Schools last month instituted a `cheese sandwich policy,` serving the alternative meals to children whose parents are supposed to be able to pay for some or all of their regular meals but fail to pick up the tab." The Associated Press

Children who qualify for free meals won`t be affected, its students whose parents can afford to pay for their meals that will have to make do with cold cheese sandwiches.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and is there a single person who would argue that we aren`t in the worst of times? Schools have been hit especially hard by the recession, and they can only keep their doors open if they cut corners.

There is no constitutional right to a free lunch, not even for children. If parents with jobs refuse to pay for their children`s lunch, why the hell should taxpayers pick up the tab? Let their kids eat cold cheese sandwiches (without condiments), and a rotten apple.

We aren`t talking about nickels and dimes, unpaid school lunches are a serious drain on a school`s budget:

"In Albuquerque, unpaid lunch charges hovered around $55,000 in 2006. That jumped to $130,000 at the end of the 2007-08 school year. It was $140,000 through the first five months of this school year." The Associated Press

There is no way that a school district can absorb a hit like that, not in these hard economic times. In fact, a school shouldn`t provide any lunch, however frugal, to children of parents who can afford to feed them.

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