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Santa Monica school parents want stop to Breakfast in the Classroom

Vanessa Romo | March 13, 2015

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Student-Eating-Breakfast1The food fight over Breakfast in the Classroom rages on as another LA Unified school is attempting to kill the program before it gets started.

A group of parents at Paul Revere Charter Middle School in Santa Monica is petitioning the district for a waiver from the morning meal program next year, claiming that it’s unnecessary, it creates a mess in the classroom and it wastes valuable instruction time.

The program is part of a national school breakfast program funded with millions of dollars in federal money. Over the last three years, it has rolled out in 550 LA Unified schools, reaching 360,000 students from low-income families.

But the program has met resistance especially within the district’s more affluent schools, which have fewer students in need. It is also strongly opposed by teachers who estimate that it eats up 15 to 20 minutes of class time each day.

Next year would be the first for Paul Revere to implement the program. The newly converted charter school expects to see a boost in students qualifying for free or reduced meals in 2015-16, pushing the school just over the threshold for the mandatory program.

District policy dictates that all schools with 20 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced meals are required to provide early morning meals. Schools below the line, are offered the option to have a nutrition program instead of Breakfast in the Classroom.

“There are about 32 schools that fall under this,” district spokesman Thomas Waldman told LA School Report.

While many schools have attempted to opt-out of the meal program, none has been successful.

“We are continuing to implement BIC at all other schools above the 20 percent,” said Waldman.

Paul Revere parent Cindy Sison raised concerns about implementing the food plan during Tuesday’s board meeting.

“We take care of our own,” she said. Sison, who contends the school will only be eight tenths of a percent above the mandatory line, says students at Paul Revere receive a free nutritional snack early in the day. “We don’t need breakfast, too,” she insisted.

The school also issues low-income students meal coupons that can be used at local shops on weekends, she said.

The 20 percent threshold that triggers Breakfast in the Classroom is not a condition for receiving federal funding. It is set the district and the Breakfast in the Classroom Task force.

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