Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christie Cuts Breakfast

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is planning to reduce funding for school meal programs:

Christie wants to eliminate the state's $3 million for subsidized school breakfasts, which also run on $41.4 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For school lunches, which get $173.4 million in federal funding, Christie seeks to trim the state bill to $5.6 million from $8 million.
I'm no expert on this subject -- and I'm not even sure if this is possible -- but it seems to me that the state should cut funding to school meal programs to help close its budget gap. Schools can then increasing the price of meals for other students.

Right now, kids who pay for lunch are getting bargain-price meals for no apparent reason. But if higher-income students were made to pay more and the additional revenue were used to subsidize meals for low-income students, then the state might not need to contribute to these food programs.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has already recommended that the federal government try to increase regular meal prices, since the current price of a meal in most schools does not even cover the cost of preparation. CBPP's research also suggests that demand for school lunch is relatively inelastic over a certain price range, which makes sense since the prices are often dramatically lower than other available substitutes.

I don't think that we should be cutting funding for students who need free and reduced price meals. But we should be shifting more of the cost onto other students who don't need free and reduced price meals.

There is no reason for us to be subsidizing kids whose parents can afford to pay more.

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