Target: L.A. Unified School District
Goal: Ensure that L.A. School district lunch program budgets aren’t being siphoned into other areas
For almost ten years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has been spending funds intended for the school lunch program in unrelated areas like employee salaries, utilities, and other expenses. Though the California Department of Education has demanded that L.A. Unified put $158 million back into the student meal program to make up for what it had misspent, school districts including L.A. are continuing to violate spending regulations at the expense of their students’ nutritional needs.
According to the L.A. Times, the Los Angeles School District has continually redirected school lunch funds to pay for other expenses, such as sprinklers and employee salaries.
Though the district has a system in place to monitor spending, the lax oversight of state examiners allows misappropriation of funds to go on. According to a report by the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes, there are only 60 state examiners to oversee over three thousand districts, making it difficult for them to complete all necessary inspections.
The consequences that result from a shortage of lunch funding include shorter lunch periods for students, fewer cafeteria workers and supervisors, and the replacement of fresh foods with cheaper, processed fast foods. In addition, less money in the school lunch program means that much fewer low-income children are able to receive the free or reduced-price lunch that they need.
By signing the petition below you will urge the L.A. school district to establish active oversight of its school lunch funds and to ensure that these funds are used appropriately—for cafeteria staffing, healthy food choices, and opportunity for low-income students to receive free or reduced-price meals.
To the Los Angeles School District:
For ten years, the Los Angeles School District has misspent funds intended for the school lunch program on unrelated school expenses, such as sprinklers and the salaries of non-cafeteria staff. As a result, students at school experience shorter lunch periods, less healthy foods, and fewer cafeteria staff members to ensure the efficiency and safety of food preparation and mealtime.
Most important of all, missing funds from the lunch program means less money to spend on helping low-income students receive healthy midday meals. Inability to cover these expenses means much fewer students who are able to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and those who are unable to get the help they need will be affected both physically and in their academic studies.
I urge the Los Angeles School District to immediately establish a stricter oversight program to ensure that funds for school lunches are redirected to improving students’ nutritional needs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ben+Sam via Flickr.