LAUSD admin proposes eliminating classroom breakfast program

Cites survey where teachers said they'd prefer the program in cafeteria.

April 29—Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy has proposed eliminating the district's Breakfast in the Classroom program, which feeds nearly 200,000 low-income students daily, citing criticism by the teachers union that it is messy, draws pests and cuts into instructional time.

The $6.1 million for Breakfast in the Classroom has been redlined from the 2013-14 budget that Deasy will submit to the school board on May 14, although board members can vote to restore the funding.

"I'm trying to respond to UTLA's concern that the district is headed in the wrong direction and that many members believe that Breakfast in the Classroom is a bad idea," Deasy said. "But I think that putting food in the stomachs of hungry kids is a good thing, so I'm going to be asking the school board to find $6.1 million in revenue so we can keep feeding our students and keep 900 (cafeteria) jobs intact."

Just last week, United Teachers Los Angeles released the results of a member survey in which more than half of 729 respondents said the morning meal program had drawn rodents and insects to their classrooms and cut into their lessons. At the same time, 88 percent said they would support a breakfast program if it was served in the cafeteria rather than the classroom.

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Spring Lake Grade School District in Manito, Ill., has planted an on-campus orchard to begin providing fresh fruit at lunch, The Journal Star reports.

Students and other members of the school community planted 20 apple, pear and peach trees this week. The district hopes to make its first harvest in about four years and wants to incorporate the produce into school meals. The trees were purchased using donations.

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