Friday, June 1, 2007

Let them eat cheese...

On the front page of today's San Diego Daily Worker Union Tribune:

What's for lunch? Stigma sandwich
Chula Vista kids with cafeteria bills get cheese, bread

Looks like good protein to me...

It seems that some parents in the Chula Vista school district have been a little tardy in paying the $1.50 per day cost of a daily school lunch. So until their bills are paid, their children are given a cheese sandwich, salad, and milk.

But predictably, a couple of liberals have just got to have a little whine with that cheese:

When parents fall three meals behind, their child finds a check mark on his personalized lunch card when he picks it up at the beginning of the cafeteria line. That tells him he has no choice but cheese.

It also brands him with a culinary scarlet letter, detractors say; the cheese sandwich unfairly broadcasts that a student has deadbeat parents.

William Perno and Alice Coronado, who have children in district schools, have lobbied for the abolition of the alternate meal for seven months.

“Instead of choosing to hold the parents responsible, they (Chula Vista schools) implemented the alternate meal to have the child be the messenger about the account,” said Coronado, a social worker.

Perno suggests getting tougher with recalcitrant parents: demand letters, reports to credit bureaus and the use of collection agencies. He even suggested siccing the district attorney on them.

Now that's a terrific idea. Collection agencies all over the county would surely like to spend their time running down those $6 collection accounts. And we certainly don't want the DA wasting his time prosecuting gang members, drunk drivers and murderers...he needs to be going after REAL criminals like these deadbeat parents.

Before you think I am picking on parents who can't afford the regular school lunch:

None of this applies to the poor. There really is such thing as a free lunch, and Chula Vista serves 6,000 of them daily to children from low-income households.

The problem is those who can afford to pay but don't, Doyle said, and restricting lunch choice has proved to be an attention-getter.

When the Chula Vista School District started the cheese sandwich program, they were running a deficit of $285,000. Now that deficit is down to $68,000. 15 miles to the north, the Santee school district runs a similar program and it's lunch program debt has been completely eradicated.

But leave it to liberal whiners like Perno and Coronado who want to use costly resources at taxpayer expense so that kids can avoid the "stigma" of having to eat a cheese sandwich.

The kicker? It turns out Perno and Coronado are making a big stink about nothing:

In fact, some kids want the cheese sandwich, and there are unconfirmed reports that kids have thrown away their bag lunches to get it.

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