July 19 2014
New Jersey School Officials Living Large with $300,000+ Meals Tab
The Newark public school district is crying poor and cutting school supplies and maintenance budgets. But at least teachers aren’t going hungry. The district has been approving more than $20,000 a month for teachers’ catered lunches and take-out. As the Daily Caller reports:
…the North Jersey school system has spent $330,000 over a 15-month period on BBQ ribs, specialty sandwiches and Halal cuisine, but the cluster of Newark schools slashed its budget on expenditures like school building maintenance and school supplies.
“We don’t have adequate supplies of paper and necessary supplies to supplement us throughout the day and then there’s money being spent on arbitrary things such as catering and food,” sophomore high school student Khadija Bhatti told NBC New York.
When asked to defend the glut of state cash spent on food, Superintendent Cami Anderson refused to reply, but school spokeswoman Vanessa Rodriguez told NBC New York that New Jersey union rules require food to be provided to teachers who stay late for parent-teacher conferences. …
Yet parent-teacher conferences are only held twice a school year, and according to the NBC New York report, the teachers were pigging-out on thousands of dollars worth of food every month with no definite proof that students and families were present.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, this school district receives more than $25,000 in per-pupil revenue. Of that amount, the state provides just over $20,000. Imagine if Newark public school parents were in charge of those funds. It’s likely they’d direct their children’s associated education dollars to schools that valued academic performance more than high-priced catering.