Thursday, February 10, 2011

No more free lunches

From the NY Times:

Of the 2,200 students at Intermediate School 61 in Corona, Queens, 86 percent receive free cafeteria lunches. Some others pay a reduced price, and some are supposed to pay full price.

But not all of their parents pay what they are supposed to, and recently, the school’s principal, Joseph Lisa, has been spending a lot of time trying to collect money from them.

He has cornered them in the hallways. He has offered them gentle reminders after school meetings. He has called them and sent them letters suggesting payment plans for debts that might amount to $20 or $30.

“We give them little pieces of paper saying, ‘This week you owe $5, $3, 50 cents,’ but as soon as we collect it from one parent, there’s another who’s falling behind,” Mr. Lisa said.

The city used to pick up the unpaid tabs. Since 2004, it has absorbed at least $42 million in unpaid lunch fees.

But that is a luxury it can no longer afford, according to the Department of Education, which has weathered several rounds of budget cuts, with more still to come. So it has been telling principals to collect overdue lunch money or risk having it docked from their school budgets.

Of the city’s 1,600 schools, 1,043 owe a collective $2.5 million to the Education Department for meals served in the first three months of this school year. That puts them on track to be $8 million behind by the end of the school year.

Let them either bring lunch to school or pay. Problem solved. Stop giving everything away for free. They can't pay $1.50 per day for lunch but they can afford to hang out after school with their friends at McDonald's? I know it's not what the machine wants but how about consumers pay for what they consume for once? We supposedly feed the kids so they are more likely to succeed. 75% of kids in public school qualify for free or 25-cent lunches, yet 75% of them also graduate high school not knowing basic reading, writing and arithmetic. Let's stop throwing money down the drain.


georgetheatheist said...


Anonymous said...

This is a DISGRACEFUL thing to complain about.

We are THE only country in the world that really matters, we have one of the highest per-capita standards of living...and we are dunning public school students for lunch money?

Forty-two million out of 20+ billion budget is nothing.

Take it out of those fat slob custodian "engineers" and the those "great American" con-tractors who overcharge and scam the Schools while living some shit suburb and hating this city.

If you want real waste, try this:

Thanks to G. Bush we have lost -trillions- of dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq...with nothing to show for it.

In Afghanistan we airlifted C-130's loaded with pallets of new $100 dollar bills, these went on for months and so-far as can be determined close to a trillion dollars was dropped into that black hole.

But no, let's dunn the kids.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the parents of these children should have thought about how they were going to afford to feed them before they had them. There is absolutely no personal responsibility in this country. Gimme, gimme, gimme handouts all the time.

Anonymous said...

These are the same kids that walk around with the most up to date phones, most expensive sneakers, etc.

If they can afford that, it stands to reason that they can afford $1.50 $.25 for lunch.

Anonymous said...

"We are THE only country in the world that really matters, we have one of the highest per-capita standards of living...and we are dunning public school students for lunch money?"

Yes, it's called teaching them that they have to pay for things in life. Bringing up Afghanistan is completely irrelevant. Free rent, free health care, free food, free everything. What is the motivation to learn and become a productive member of society?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, kids, the middle class will pay for everything! Apparently, that's what we're here for!

Anonymous said...

Let's see, American taxpayers pay $9B for this, and the parents of these kids can't come up with $1.50 per meal? Are they serious?

Anonymous said...

Principals say economic troubles have forced parents into delinquency, but some also say that there are many children, often in families of recent immigrants, who would qualify for free lunch but have not turned in eligibility forms. The Education Department has strongly encouraged parents to complete the forms, even offering prizes, including a trip for two to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, paid for by the Jets.

I live in Bizarro World.

Roger said...

It sounds like you're saying it doesn't matter if we feed them because they aren't succeeding anyway. Can't we just feed them because they're hungry?

It also sounds like you're claiming that free lunch kids all hang out at McDonald's after school. Do you have any proof or did you just see some kids at McDonald's?

Some families are truly needy. Are you against providing help to them?

Tania Katherine said...

There are two problems that this post doesn't address and instead pretends does not exist:

1. The nutritional value of public school lunches is quite poor. What, they took out the Snapple machines a few years back but CHOCOLATE milk is available ad nasseum? As a result of poor nutrition, these meals are also a lo more expensive than they need to be. $20 of brown rice, a few bags of lettuce and some beans could feed a school of children for well under $100 a day - and healthy at that.

2. Sure, they may be misdiverting their funds to McDonald's rather than school lunches. Yes, that's true. However, do we REALLY want to say "Hey, children bound for obesity because you have poor nutritional choices - I look forward to in 30 years when your poor nutrition diseases are the resulting of my increasing taxes?"

While there is a lack of responsibility among parents with open hands, there is also a lack of social responsibility. I don't want to pay for your poor parenting skills, your child's need of the emergency room because you can't afford health insurance, etc. If I'm going to have to pay for it at SOME point, I'd much rather pay less now and have it be marginally useful.

Anonymous said...

What a mess. Seems to me a lot of money is going to be spent to collect a lesser amount of money, and, once again,the different social groups in our fair City will be polarized... with children stuck in the middle. My experience: a disabled child, living in a residential placement yet attending public school, is entitled to free lunch. However, the school never processes his paperwork properly - and every year attempts to collect past due from any one they can think of...

Anonymous said...

We give them welfare. We give them food stamps. We give them housing. With all of that, mom and dad (usually just mom) can't afford to send their kid to school with a sandwich? I was dirt poor growing up but my parents made sure I had lunch to bring to school. I never had the luxury of chocolate milk and a balanced meal. I was fed what mom packed for me. If there was the option of buying lunch for $1.50, they would have found a way to pay it. They were good savers. I think we need to send the parents to school instead of the kids.

Anonymous said...

Does one go to school to eat, or to learn? BRING YOUR OWN DAMNED LUNCH!

Anonymous said...

We have no duty to feed illegal aliens and their 7 kids.
Schools have become baby sitting services packed with feral disruptive brats. Our own can no longer get an education, let the parents (usually a single parent with 6 different kid by 6 different fathers) pay better yet GO HOME !!!
Its about time these criminals start loosing taxpayer footed services like this.
Word will spread quick to Mexico and Guatemala the free rides over.

Anonymous said...

We were poor growing up, but my mom always made me a sandwich to take to school. Jars of peanut butter and jelly go a long way when you don't have a lot. These kids are ENTITLED to free lunch. Of course it's free for them, but not for the middle class who has to pay for all of this. Cut out all entitlements. This is long overdue. Children are a responsibility. Parents don't have to be responsible for their kids because they feel schools are responsible for feeding them breakfast and lunch and educating them and then giving them homework help after school. Just what is the role of the parents?

Anonymous said...

Mabye they should stop buying a new cell phone, $200 dollar jeans, and $250 dollar sneakers every other week. Then they will be able to pitch in some money for their food. If we stopped giving out free food, I have a funny feeling that no one would starve, and they would have money all of a sudden for food.

Anonymous said...

the n.y.c. department of education 2011 budget is 21,000,000,000.00 (BILLION)... your property taxes pay for most of this.

the cost for one public school pupil/per year is $20,000.00.(k-12)

the cost for one parochial school pupil(k-8) is $4000-5000.per year.the public school graduation rate per year in n.y.c. is 40-50%. a failing system....

the parochial schools graduate over 90% of their
pupils.the parents pay to educate their own ,and pay for the failure of the public system as well. their taxes also pay for the food in the public system.

socialism is a failed policy and leads to totalitarianism, slavery....

less government control is our only is time to tighten the spending belt.n.y.state needs a governor like CHRYSTIE IN NEW JERSEY ,with common sense and guts. n.j. taxpayers will be the winners.

Anonymous said...

"Just what is the role of the parents?"

Apparently not too much anymore. Check this out:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched the City’s first multimedia campaign to reduce truancy and chronic absenteeism in City schools. The campaign, called WakeUp! NYC was developed by the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Truancy and Chronic Absenteeism, led by John Feinblatt, the Mayor’s Chief Policy Advisor. The WakeUp! NYC campaign will begin next week with automated phone calls to students in a core group of 25 schools with principals who have volunteered to participate in the Task Force’s work this year, and then expand chronically absent students citywide. Campaign partners including Viacom and their BET Networks division, 98.7 KISS FM, Hot 97 FM and 101.9 RXP FM will also encourage school attendance every day on-air and through social media. Through WakeUp! NYC, students will receive phone calls with pre-recorded morning wake up messages from Magic Johnson, Jose Reyes, Big Boi, Terrence J and Rocsi, from BET’s 106 & Park and award-winning artist Trey Songz as well as other celebrities from program partners Viacom. The Mayor also announced early results from the truancy program for the first half of the school year, which showed improvements in many schools.

Anonymous said...

I've known single parents who have sent their kids to school hungry and they weren't wasting money in McDonald's or anywhere else.

Here is an article about cheap sources of food for those who work as well as the poorest folks:

May you and yours never go hungry. Don't forget too, Lent is coming and with it, time to remember the sufferings of the unfortunate in our world.

Anonymous said...

Angry old geez said: "the cost for one public school pupil/per year is $20,000.00.(k-12)

the cost for one parochial school pupil(k-8) is $4000-5000.per year"

How about some facts:

The parochial schools are being closed by the dozen due to declining enrollments and deteriorating buildings.

They might have fared a little better had the church not had to settle all those suits from pederast priests f-ing with the kids.

"the parochial schools graduate over 90% of their

Private schools even higher. It's easy when you can cherry pick and kick out the ones you don't want.
IOW: Your argument is B.S.

"socialism is a failed policy and leads to totalitarianism, slavery"

-Says one who owes his existence to Social Security and Medicare. "Socialism" is keeping you alive old man.

"n.y.state needs a governor like CHRYSTIE IN NEW JERSEY"

HA-HA! New York is (thankfully) not New Jersey. But, if you like it over there, why not take yourself and your government checks and live there?

Joe said...

A good 75% are illiterate and not teachable in their native language let alone English.
Id say give them some sticks and rocks throw them all in the Army with some drill Sargent's and sheriff Joe style jails.
Trying to teach them skills in classroom is a waste of money and resources.
Enough with this babysitting service for the undomesticated offspring of illegal aliens.
End the cash jackpot baby program now before the country is over-run with 200 million useless breeders who need to be fed, housed and watered for life repeating the same cycle that turned their home country's into overpopulated broken cesspools

Classrooms should only be available to those willing (and able) to learn

Anonymous said...

to the leftwing liberal restaurateur : have you bought accident insurance for your bike delivery jockeys yet?

there you go again,more socialist/liberal misinformation out of your delusion.

why omit that the d.o.e has just closed very many public schools in n.y.c.? will you tell us why? we know ,why won't you mouth the words, too distasteful to tell the truth? FAILURE...FAILURE...FAILURE....SOCIALISM ...SOCIALISM...SOCIALISM....

American citizens" involuntarily "contributed to social security and medicare out of each paycheck ,that their labor earned. they had no choice,the government took it and at 65 years of age have paid it back ,monthly to the citizens. regrettably some who did not contribute are benefitting.

btw:julius and armand hammer were communists.

Anonymous said...

"why omit that the d.o.e has just closed very many public schools in n.y.c.? will you tell us why? we know ,why won't you mouth the words, too distasteful to tell the truth?"

What YOU omit is that nearly -all- of the public schools that close are reopened still as public but with smaller, individual "schools within a school".

Theose do actually close are ancient, outdated many parochial schools.

Here comes another dose of reality:

Face it old man, the model of school as front for religion indoctrination is increasingly unsustainable in a diverse nation that we have become.

"American citizens" involuntarily "contributed to social security and medicare out of each paycheck ,that their labor earned. they had no choice,the government took it and at 65 years of age have paid it back ,monthly to the citizens."

I know, benefits are a bitch aren't they? And you could ahve given that money to Wall Street instead...they'd take good care of you..right.

Look at it this way, most old farts hit the breakeven point in benefits within ten years after they start getting checks...after that you are riding our (younger) backs.

At least show some appreciation.

"btw:julius and armand hammer were communists."

Fine. If it makes you feel better.

Now, say your prayers to that picture of Ronald Reagan, and say good night.

Queens Crapper said...

Actually, the schools are closing because they are failing. Yes, the same building is used to house "smaller" schools within. I fail to see your point about parochial schools closing. Fact is the state owes Catholic schools millions of dollars that could have been used to keep them open. And the fact is that Catholic schools are actually successful at educating where public schools aren't.

Anonymous said...

I know there's a lot of anger out there, especially for the poor. Yes, some of them don't know how to save their money and use it for frivolous things. I grew up poor and was embarrassed to pay reduced lunch prices in NYC public school. I did not get new shoes except once a year. I hated it when the teacher would call out the name of the child who was missing the money for that week. But I will tell you that without subsidizing the meals, my brothers and I wouldn't have a complete lunch. I will say that I did do well in NYC public schools and CUNY. My friends who were also on free/reduced lunches are professionals making six digit salaries now. There's definitely waste in the NYC public schools. If they want to fix their budget, this is not the solution.

Anonymous said...

Queens Crapper said.."I fail to see your point about parochial schools closing."

Well, then read this:

To some extent I'am surprised about the the number of catholic schools closing or in trouble, they are often in neighborhoods that have burgeoning Latino populations. But these people are not as well off as even their working class predecessors, the $4000/yr tuition as opposed to a few hundred back 30 years ago is just too much, especially when you factor the huge increase in the cost of housing (due to deregulation)over the last 14 years.

As the article states, the rise of publicly funded charter schools is another factor.

Queens Crapper said...

New York State partially reimburses Catholic schools for state-mandated measures such as standardized testing, and Cuomo's budget would reduce reimbursements to private schools by 8%. Catholic educators say the loss will exacerbate debts they have incurred from the state, which already owes Catholic schools some $260 million in reimbursements.

Catholic educators also maintain that they are being forced to endure deeper cuts despite having less resources than their public school counterparts. The percentage decrease in public school funding stands at 7.3% compared to 8% for nonprivate schools. Unlike Catholic schools, public schools are reimbursed for MTA payroll taxes.

Catholic Schools Push Back On Cuomo's Cuts

Catholic schools take much of the burden off public schools. If they continue to close in part because they are getting stiffed, families will move out of the city rather than send their kids to failing public schools. That means loss of taxpayers. This is stupid. We are creating a city full of rich and poor.

Anonymous said...

Well, thanks for the article, I hadn't read that.

From article:

"Catholic educators also maintain that they are being forced to endure deeper cuts despite having less resources than their public school counterparts."

--Why are taxpayers funding -any- form of private education?

""Public schools have reserve funds and tax levy authority that we do not have, and our only recourse is to turn to the parents in the form of tuition increases,""

When I went to Dalton in 1968 tuition was on the order of $2K/yr..Now it is close to $40K/yr.

""[The parents] are already overburdened in paying taxes to support public schools in addition to tuition to support their kids.""

I pay three types of tax, don't have any kids in any sort of school. I don't have a car but pay for roads as well.

"For many parents, charter schools represent a less costly alternative,"

A (mostly)-free- alternative.

"Certainly legislators have supported the growth of charter schools without any commensurate support for parents who want to choose a religious or an independent school, and they simply ignore the issues of justice and fairness and equality from a fiscal point of view alone,"

--Now that is bullshit..and he knows it. We NOT supposed to be supporting religion indoctrination with public funds. Tax exemptions are bad enough.

""We're essential to the integrity of neighborhoods throughout the city of New York," Harrington said. "If people don't have access to our schools they're moving, they're going somewhere else."

Propaganda. Our schools and City are bursting at the seams from new arrivals. I guess he doesn't see them..if they're not Catholic.

The various churches sit on over a billion dollars of New York realestate, tax exempt. That includes the schools which also pay reduced utility rates.

That's enough.

-Q-C writes:We are creating a city full of rich and poor.

-No argument there.

Queens Crapper said...

Our schools and City are bursting at the seams from new arrivals. I guess he doesn't see them..if they're not Catholic.

Many children in Catholic school are not Catholic. Asians are enrolled in very high numbers. And the point he's making is that people who can afford to pay for Catholic school education are moving and replacing them will be people who can't afford Catholic school and will overburden the public school system. That's why we should subsidize private school. Unless you want to spend billions of dollars to eminent domain property to build more schools.

Anonymous said...

some local Queens politicians "acquired" $150,000.00 from n.y.c.taxpayers to pay for part of the mortgage of the Shabad on 26 th avenue in Bay Terrace ,across from the shopping mall, a few years ago.

separation of church and state? local civic groups were threatened with slander ,if they continued to disapprove of this corruption.

air conditioning systems and roof replacement was paid for by the taxpayers for the Y.M.H.A.
in Little Neck/Douglaston . Why ?

i wonder if this will show up in campaign contributions on COUNCILPEDIA .org?

Anonymous said...

restauranteurs,LIKE YOU,should be mandated by city government to pay the taxes for EACH bike delivery illegal alien jockey,that you employ off the books.

you should have to pay the property tax equivalent for EACH anchor baby that your jockeys send to public education for 13 years plus.

your jockeys ride on the sidewalks ,so you are getting off easy on your non-auto use taxes,

we taxpayers are more than subsidizing your life style on the U.E.S.

Anonymous said...

"we taxpayers are more than subsidizing your life style on the U.E.S."

Old man, I don't know who you think I am. Nobody subsidizes my life, but me.

I also "subsidize" YOU with the huge taxes I pay.

Anonymous said...

"..people who can't afford Catholic school and will overburden the public school system. That's why we should subsidize private school."

Here, we basically agree but, the proper way to about it is to actually rent those schools (sans religion ornaments) to the DOE.

Look, the baby boom tapered off around 2007 and with the recession it has not ended outright.

So, the argument could be made that building a lot of schools at this point will leave us with a glut of classroom space within the decade..similar to what happened in the late 1960-thru early 80's.

Renting buildings that are, or can be made up to standard from struggling private education sector might make sense...Too much sense.

Queens Crapper said...

Well, I have news for you - many times, Catholic schools have tried to rent their property to public schools and the city doesn't want to do that. It was suggested that closed Holy Cross school in Maspeth be used for the Maspeth high school - would have used an existing school building that is no longer in service as such and would have not disrupted the area with construction. Well, SCA had their eyes on a contaminated piece of factory land and said no thanks. St. Aloysius is currently sitting vacant in Ridgewood with a K-2 public school across the street. Once again, St. Aloysius was as an alternative to building a new school on Metro and Tonsor. And once again, SCA said no thanks, we'd like to throw money down the drain. So we have a central location where people would love to see retail going to become a school while a vacant school collects dust. You think you have a simple answer to everyone's problem but it's only an answer if the city cooperates.