BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Barack and Michelle Obama say they’re big supporters of education, but their policies are causing severe financial problems for the nation’s K-12 schools.
The president’s signature legislative accomplishment – the so-called “Affordable Care Act” – is forcing school leaders into spending more money on more expensive health insurance benefits for more employees, leaving less money for student-related needs.
Now, financial figures are coming in that confirm the first lady’s school lunch overhaul – embedded in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – is a money loser for many school districts, too.
Mark Bordeau, a food service official who oversees the lunch programs at 14 New York school districts, tells PressConnects.com that the healthier lunches – more fruits, vegetables and whole grains – are not only more expensive to produce, but they’re leading many youngsters to stop buying lunches altogether.
“Bordeau said participation in the local meal programs dropped between 3 to 5 percent” during the 2012-13 school year, PressConnects.com reports.
An uptick in school lunch sales this past May has Bordeau hopeful that more students “are getting used to” the calorie-controlled and flavor-challenged meals.
Time will tell.
The news site adds, “(Bordeau’s organization) isn’t the only one in the state feeling the financial pinch: A report from the New York School Nutrition Association showed more than 120 food service directors for districts across the state lost money, some more than $150,000, in the 2012-13 school year.”
District officials also expect to take a financial hit from decreased sales from vending machines, as federal regulations limit the types of snacks and drinks that can be offered to students.
The costs of the government-mandated school lunches are also trickling down to families. Many school districts are upping the cost of a full-priced lunch by a dime. That may not sound like much, but spread out over the course of a full school year, middle class families who participate in the school lunch program can expect to pay $18 more per child.
The Obamas like to remind Americans who are unhappy with their Big Government agenda that “change is hard.”
Yes, and it’s doggone expensive too, as school leaders in New York and across the nation are discovering.