There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, Because LAUSD Spent That Money on Sprinklers Instead

9671lunchlady There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, Because LAUSD Spent That Money on Sprinklers Instead

If you’re already feeling nostalgia over
the recent ending of National School Choice Week, take
heart – there’s always a new horror to uncover connected to the
operations of our public educaiton system.Auditors have discovered that some of California’s largest
school districts are skimming money meant to pay for meals for
low-income students and spending it elsewhere. Via the
Los Angeles Times:
The California Department of Education has ordered districts to
repay more than $170 million in misused funds to their student meal
programs, the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes
said in a report issued Wednesday. L.A. Unified has been forced to
pay back more than $158 million in misappropriations and unrelated
charges that the district made over six years ending in 2011.
At LAUSD, the money has been diverted to non-meal-related costs
such as sprinklers and to pay for salaries of employees at a
district television station. The Orange County Register

reports that the Santa Ana Unified School District used meal
money to pay for roof repairs and to provide free meals and snacks
for district officials (a district trustee disputes that
the money for this food came out of the same fund).School district officials are playing dumb, whining about how
complex the rules are and about how hard compliance is, which just
goes to show how the mind of a bureaucrat works: “Does it
specifically say we can’t use this money for school lunches for
poor children on sprinklers?” In any event, in both cases, the
school districts had been warned not to divert the money in this
fashion. An LAUSD employee eventually blew the whistle on the
school district to state officials.The most maddening part, and the part that is important to
recall the next time any school officials argue that they need more
money to provide better meals, is how they managed to conserve the
money:
The state Senate report concluded that the eight California
school districts examined dramatically understaffed school
cafeterias and tended to serve processed foods rather than more
expensive fresh foods. Consequently, they were able to hoard large
sums of federal and state student meal money that they then
diverted to illegal uses, the report said.
You can read the whole report
here (pdf). Santa Ana Unified and Baldwin Park Unified were
notably running huge surpluses in their food programs
while this was going on.

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There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, Because LAUSD Spent That Money on Sprinklers Instead

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