Agree With Akin? Should Feds Stop Funding School Lunches?

Is U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin's recent suggestion correct? Should states such as Missouri pay for the lunches?

Roughly 567 million lunches were served this May as part of the National School Lunch Program, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture state. But is it the federal government's job to make sure kids get lunch?

U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO) isn't so sure, as St. Louis Public Radio reported this week. During a stop at the Missouri State Fair, he said that while he's not against school lunches, he thinks the responsibility is one that could be better handled by states.

Roughly 646,000 Missouri students participated in the federal lunch program during fiscal year 2011, data show. That's down from 649,000 the previous year but up from the years 2007-09, when participation stood between roughly 639,000 and 645,000 annually.

By comparison, the fiscal year 2011 lunch-program participation of neighboring states varied:

  • Illinois: 1.16 million
  • Iowa: 397,000
  • Kansas: 362,000
  • Arkansas: 353,000

In fiscal year 2010, the federal government spent $9.7 billion on the lunch program, the Food Research & Action Center states. The nonprofit aims to improve policy in an effort to end hunger. The lunch program "makes it possible for all school children in the United States to receive a nutritious lunch every school day," the center's website states.

For the 2011-12 school year, participating schools in most states received $2.77 in reimbursements for free lunches, $2.37 for reduced-price lunches and $0.26 for paid lunches.

Would you support ending federal support for school lunches? Do states have adequate funding and resources to provide food to kids in need? To what degree would such a system run efficiently? Are there alternatives that should be considered?

Maricruz Acua April 06, 2013 at 08:23 AM
As a teacher, I'd like to add my "two cents". EVERY SINGLE DAY I see kids, especially those who get free lunch, throwing away their food in the trash. Why should taxpayers continue to pay for lunches that are unappreciated by so many? Also, if we are saving starving children, how do they survive those three months of summer vacation? Plus, the lunches are disgusting...trust me, I eat them sometimes and full of processed junk. When my kids go to school, I'm going to pack them nutritious lunches. There are so many other countries that do not offer lunches nor transportation, why should we? Whatever happened to personal responsibility? My parents were earning minimum wage with four of us kids growing up yet they managed their budget in such a way that we were always clothed and fed without government help. I'm so tired of people making up excuses. So many kids today have parents who buy them brand name clothing, iphones, new game systems BUT they ask for help in feeding their kids and don't bother buying school supplies for the kids. Stop the BS and take responsibility for raising the kids you CHOSE to have! Oh, and for the record I'm a Democrat but that doesn't mean that I'm all for providing everything for you lazy people!
PaulRevere April 06, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Maricruz: You represent what I hope will be our--TEACHER's of the Future Right here. Your eloquent essay should be posted on every Bulletin board in America. Our schools are not "education", they are child-care centers (with Success rates far below years ago),using funds that are spent 75% on the care-takers. People think public schools are "FREE". In fact, they are the most expensive Taxed system in America. The poor and needy pay up the "A__" for this education, all the while being told it's FREE. My hat is off to you----"TEACHER OF THE YEAR".
PaulRevere's Mom April 06, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Oh you found your three-cornered hat - GOOD! Or was it the tinfoil hat that you found? Now get off your lazy-freeloading-trust-fund-suckling-fingerpointing-delusional-whiny arse and fix me a pina colada!
Maricruz Acua April 09, 2013 at 07:56 AM
You're right Paul, we've essentially been turned into caretakers. I went into education to be a lifelong learner and help others choose a gratifying career path through hard work and a quality education. Some students truly are there to learn and are brilliant. Others are only there to waste our time, be force-fed their 'education' and completely unwilling to take responsibility for their own thought processes. I remind them that their parents are paying hefty taxes to pay the school and they should therefore take advantage of their learning. What is heartbreaking is how so many kids DO want to learn but are still unable to measure up to the standards. It's painfully obvious that not everyone is college material, yet the government insists on every kid being "college and career ready". Totally unrealistic. It seems that as long as this group mentality of entitlement and "Woe is me, I deserve all these government handouts!" prevails, our country is going to quickly become a third world, bankrupt hell hole. Stop making excuses for kids and make them realize that they need to take an active and participatory role, parents responsible for providing for their kids, and teachers and districts accountable. Our current school system is ridiculous when a young and passionate teacher is always under the threat of budget cuts yet the burn out, mean-spirited veterans get to revel in their tenure. I still love the children but this system is hurting all parties involved!
PaulRevere April 09, 2013 at 05:27 PM
SchoolBoard!School lunches, Student transportation, Sport stadiums, massive early retirement plans, Paid 3 month vacations with 3 week Holiday vacations are NOT EDUCATION COSTS.Anyone who claims these "fringe benefits" are a cost of education while leaving off the "Moral" teaching as education is short on caring for the "children".I have a simple question. Why would any resident of any city public school be for paying into the education of someone elses child , while the "Same State accredited" education is available for half the price. Every non-public school parent deserves to have their Real estate tax go for "the classrooms" not the teachers pay raises. If you don't teach my child , then my tax money should not support your raises and pensions. If every parent sent their child to public schools because they already pay the tax, no School district in Missouri could handle it. Taxing people for "Services never rendered" is"stealing". Our children are not being taught the difference in right and wrong. Having pre-marital or teen sex is "wrong". They are taught to use "condoms" and birth control pills.right-a-wrong. That is why Parents and children have no attention span in classrooms. Anything-goes! 1)Why don't residents take a new route and force the School Board to Hire 50% non-union teachers. Teach "morals". (not excuses) 2)Every parent owns an automobile fully capable to drive their own child to school. Buses & drivers should be PAID BY THE USERS. Not Me!
Stephanie R. April 09, 2013 at 10:54 PM
How come these welfare moms who expect the gov pay for their kids lunches didn't choose abortion? After all, their party pushes it hard ever election!
ReverePaul April 10, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Interg8er that's a idiotic way to look at things. Have you ever looked at the taxes and maybe realize that they actually sometimes help other people than yourself?Shit doesn't get done in politics because people like you have stubborn attitudes of "i never vote for a tax increase". And I bet a majority of the parents who cannot pay for their children's lunch are not on crack as you ridiculously said. I know kids on the lunch program at Ladue whose parents aren't on drugs and have actual jobs, they don't just get paid enough.
Earl Higgins April 10, 2013 at 01:51 AM
ATTENTION TEA PARTIERS: Akin, Romney et al. have LOST! This election, discussion, etc. are OVER. Nothing to see here, move along…
PaulRevere April 10, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Do we still have "free Lunches" "Free transportation" "excessively priced public education"? Of course we do. The election is over , but not the "STEALING".
PaulRevere's Mom April 10, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Quit your BELLYACHIN about Free lunches. You've been moochin off the trust FUND for DECADES. What other kind of LOSER can spend so much time on the PATCH? AND quit STEALING MY pina coladas!
E. Schmidt April 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Mrs. Revere, Your son Paul was in the Ballwin Ellisivllle Patch stinkin' up the joint yesterday. Please keep a closer eye on his whereabouts or at least pin a note to his sleeve so we know to where we should return him. Signed -- The Residents of Ellisville
Dennis Hyman April 10, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Couldn't be better spoken by an anti-choice, anti-labor, right wing tea party moron.
Debbie in Ballwin April 13, 2013 at 01:09 AM
It is so obvious in comments here, people just can't take reading or hearing the TRUTH about what is going on in this country, and it really is no surprise because the public education system has dumbed down a whole generation of people to the point of no return. You can not fix stupidity, one small case in point, the impeachment of the mayor of Ellisville, these people are the laughing stock of St. Louis County and don't even know it. Ellisville residents showed everybody why Ellisville is NOT where you want to live or do business!
Caffeinated April 13, 2013 at 01:23 AM
>>"Ellisville residents showed everybody why Ellisville is NOT where you want to live or do business!" Out of curiosity, Debbie, could you enumerate exactly how the residents of Ellisville did this? It's not self-evident, and as an Ellisville resident I'd like you to educate me on why you blame the residents for the mess and why people don't wish to live here?
Debbie in Ballwin April 13, 2013 at 01:27 AM
The government continues to string people along with all the free stuff because it guarantees them votes! It is that simple! Would you vote against somebody who pays your way through life? Of course you wouldn't! That is precisely what this corrupt government continues to do with our hard earned money, and everyone should be up in arms about it! I am sick and tired of free lunches and taxi cab rides to and from schools and no discipline and non-appreciative kids whose parents by the way pay no taxes to go to schools out here in the county but reap more benefits then the kids whose parents pay through the nose to live in the Rockwood and Parkway districts! What part of this do you left wing critics not understand??? The piggy bank was empty a long time ago!! STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE!!!
Debbie in Ballwin April 13, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Caring for people takes on many different forms, but paying for others to have a free ride through life is just the opposite of caring for them! You only teach them to be dependent on the government and others and more needy and unable to care for themselves, that is detrimental to our society and drags everyone down!
PaulRevere's Mom April 13, 2013 at 02:48 AM
You sound like a nice match FOR MY PATRIOTIC SON!!!
Debbie in Ballwin April 13, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Paul Revere's Mom: You must be so proud, your son is a very smart man indeed!! He speaks the truth fantasticly well and I love reading his comments, I wish he had a bigger forum to continue to get this word out to people. I love this great country, and I see her being beaten down by idiots everyday! It makes me very angry and sick at heart. It seems we are helpless against this craziness that has consumed our country!
PaulRevere April 13, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Debbie-Ballwin: Reduced Property taxes for ALL.. Trust me. Lori Trakas's winning in this very liberal machine environment speaks wonders about how many readers follow me and responded to her fabulous campaign strategy. I hope she has some affect on Tax reductions. I choose to take the message directly to the sites of where "liberals" hibernate". I now see that spreading as my letters to Senators are making them go directly to Liberal infested locations. It is time for all conservatives and "God loving people" to speak the "truth" and educate the uneducated. (80% of our public school children are not ready for college). (Glorified country clubs) We must take back our Public Schools along with our country. I want smarter students , They want More Pay. I urge all VOTERS in ALL Public school districts to Stop the excessive Taxation in the name of Education. Educators are way outnumbered , if ALL residents VOTE. Our public schools have "stolen" our religion by making it financially impossible for residents to use alternative state approved education. Free lunches-transportation have no place in education at today's COSTS. That is the biggest reason and mission of PaulRevere. The more name calling you see, the more worried they become.
PaulRevere April 13, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Caffeinated: Ellisville residents voted in the "COUNCIL". It is the Residents that choose the "COUNCIL". Now if the Council "fires" the mayor, who is responsible? Is that enough explanation.
St. Louis is a destination April 14, 2013 at 12:22 AM
The irony that the real Paul Revere was educated in PUBLIC SCHOOLS in Boston is one of my favorite things in the Patch.
Christine Stewart Mehigh April 14, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Yes, and he used his real name when he spoke to others.
PaulRevere's Mom April 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM
THIS. IS called SPEAKING to OTHERS?!?!?!
PaulRevere's Mom April 14, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Debbie, I am so very proud indeed! Look at all my son has accomplished in this journalism career on the Patch! He can STIR UP public Education hatred AND he makes a mean Pina Colada! ALL THIS, from my humble basement.
Sensible? I think so April 14, 2013 at 02:14 PM
I think that this is Revere's proposal for teachers' pay: 1. All Missouri teachers would earn at the rate of $38,000 per year. 2. Teachers would not get paid over the summer if they don't work. 3. Teachers would not be paid for any days not worked, including winter and spring breaks. 4. A maximum of 50% of teachers could join a union. I count 194 work days for teachers. Assuming 260 weekdays in a year, this means that all Missouri teachers would be paid 194/260*38,000 = $28,354 each school year. Mr. Revere, please let us know if I missed something.
Debbie in Ballwin April 14, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Yes back then PUBLIC SCHOOLS actually EDUCATED people!
Debbie in Ballwin April 14, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Welcome to the real world where these 4 things you mention happen everyday to others trying desparatly to take care of families and homes even making less then proposed here........
Debbie in Ballwin April 14, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Paul Revere you are right, the liberals are beginning to react, your words are touching a nerve...FREEDOM OF SPEECH at it's finest!
Mike Stevens April 15, 2013 at 12:05 AM
When you say that real estate tax should go for the classrooms, what exactly do you mean? The textbooks, computers, supplies? Because most research will show that even with the very best textbooks and computers, students need the best teachers to progress. Why should we care about having the best teachers? Because our nation, one with free public education that one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, thought was so vitally important, needs to compete in the global world. A world where teachers are better paid and more respected. I've read that an average teacher in the US makes about 68% of the income of the average private sector worker, whereas in other countries (with better test scores) they make just as much or more. You constantly complain about teacher pay, but teachers are not paid by the hour and cannot get overtime or triple time, do not get performance bonuses, do not get any perks like gym memberships or Cardinals tickets. The teacher job market is one that is really only open from April - July, whereas private sector jobs come open all year round. One comment I made to you (that you have never responded to) was this--would you want the lowest paid doctor performing surgery on you in the lowest-taxed hospital? If so, then certainly let us know, but if not, then tell me how that differs from having the lowest paid teacher in the lowest taxed district, because both people profoundly affect your life.... And wasn't Paul Revere a liberal?
PaulRevere's Mom April 15, 2013 at 02:04 AM
oh yeah, that is one thing he is good at EXERCISING FREEDOM OF SPEECH! If that is what you call this - people like you and HIM in the basement commenting on the Patch instead of enjoying this beautiful day and FIXING ME PINA COLADAS!


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