Saturday, September 11, 2010

Albuquerque Journal Editorial Criticizes State Cuts in School Breakfasts

Sarah Newman from New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger recommended this editorial from the Albuquerque Journal, entitled State Serves up a Very Bad School Budget Idea.

You won't be able to see the full piece,which was published on Sept. 1, unless you have an online subscription to the Journal (which comes when you subscribe to the newspaper).  But we will pass on some excerpts.

The editorial starts with the following question:
At what point did state officials decide it was a good idea to cut supplemental funding for school breakfasts at some of the poorest schools in the state?
The editorial makes the point that state officials are cutting money after massive waste and misappropriation of funds.
It was long after West Las Vegas Schools misappropriated $1,500 for a plasma TV. And the New Mexico Environment Department threw away $23,500 refusing to release public records. After the Mora Independent School District frittered away $64,000 on items as inane as beef jerky and "appreciation" jackets for staffers and legislators. And highway commissioners blew more than $87,000 on state jet travel.

Amid all those wasted tax dollars, school districts like Quemado have to give up the $3,000 to $5,000 it costs to ensure all its elementary students get cereal and milk or a quesadilla after a 90-minute bus ride.
So here's the bottom line:
That's right. Rather than ask the state to crack heads over — or require its districts to crack down on — wasteful/unnecessary spending, education officials facing budget cuts pulled $1.2 million from 22 high-poverty districts for universal free breakfast.

State and district officials should be able to find enough cash in all the obvious waste to ensure every child in a high-poverty elementary has something in his or her stomach to fuel a learning day.
Because that's an investment that will actually last — long after the cheesy jackets are in a donation box and the jet flights have been forgotten.
You get the point.  School breakfasts are NOT a luxury that  can be cut.  Savings can be easily found elsewhere.

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