No free lunch, organic or not

Serving healthy lunches to school kids isn't merely an issue of health and nutrition; rather it is, like most educational concerns, an issue of affordability.

Schools have a tradition of promoting the notion that educational needs are under-funded. Yet, despite the consistently rising costs in education &

with expansion of extracurricular choices for students a prime factor &

there remains the standard requests for parents, teachers and even students to subsidize educational costs with fundraisers and out-of-pocket donations. Periodic pleading for public funds in the guise of tax hikes add to the continual 'need' that grows faster than the incomes of most families.

Given the fiscal track record of public education it is hard for the general public to swallow the next level of 'need' being presented as "organic healthy choices" for students in public schools. While every knowledgeable parent embraces the idea of children consuming nutritious lunches at school, it is a matter of fiscal feasibility.

If the school determines that it will limit the lunch menu choices to maintain the same budget expenditures, it may need to cut considerable numbers of items from its list of choices while providing students far fewer, but healthier foods. If, however, the addition of organic foods is over and above the unhealthy choices currently being foisted upon rapidly expanding pupils, the cost is not worth it.

Parents are far more capable than schools of providing healthy, nutritious lunches for their own children that cater to the individual requirements and tastes of each.

The schools must learn to operate within their budgets and accept that schools will never be everything to everybody. Much like many students, the schools have become a bit spoiled, seeking to expand options and obligations at the expense of taxpayers who must live within ever-decreasing budgets as taxes increase. If the trend continues, perhaps the school will be the only place kids will eat healthy, as parents begin to peruse the 99 cent fast-food menus with increasing regularity.

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