Friday, July 22, 2011

Walker and the Fitzgerald Brothers Take Kids Milk Away. Hey, these are tough times....

Here we are, the dairy state, and we’re cutting the milk program.

Milk and food are school basics, that not only help kids concentrate, but gives aid to families that are already on hard economic times.

It seems the Republicans haven't gotten the message yet that they tanked the economy, wiped out millions of jobs, and sent families packing from their foreclosed homes. They seem to think if they cut food, milk and health care, the rising number of families devastated by the recession will get lower or just disappear.

If the Republicans are sincerely concerned about our children's future, then why are kids taking the biggest hit from their misguided and fiscally reckless budget cutting?
CapTimes-Susan Troller: Wisconsin may be the Dairy State but a school milk program, along with a breakfast meal plan for students, could go sour at some schools in the wake of aid cuts in Gov. Scott Walker's budget that were approved last month … the realities of what may be missing when students go back to school this fall are starting to emerge … Over the next two years, the school breakfast program will see a cut in state aid of $557,000 and the school milk plan will be cut by $137,000.

The state aid supplements federal funds for meal programs. In recent years, student participation in school breakfast programs has been increasing. Economically disadvantaged students, whose numbers have gone up in Wisconsin over the last five years from about 30 percent to more than 39 percent of all public schoolchildren, are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals. The milk program, which exclusively uses milk from Wisconsin dairies, depends on a combination of state aid and money from local districts.

The Department of Public Instruction had asked for an increase of nearly $795,000 over the two-year budget to maintain the state reimbursement rate for the school breakfast program. Instead, school districts will see a significant decrease … concerned that some of the state's poorest school districts may not be able to come up with the additional funds to keep their breakfast or milk programs in the black, and may have to eliminate them.

According to research on nutrition and learning, school breakfast and snack programs help kids concentrate in the classroom, increase student achievement, and reduce discipline problems. But if cash-strapped school districts are forced to make a choice between paying for a new roof or buying gas for school buses, a voluntary program like daily school milk may be dropped.

A member of the Wisconsin Senate's Education Committee, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, has been talking for several months about the problems of rural school districts … "The cuts to the school breakfast and milk program are good examples of the pattern we've seen throughout the discussion surrounding this budget,"… Schools hammered by budget cuts, she adds, are most likely to cut school breakfast and milk programs and their neediest children will suffer most. "The governor says he believes in shared sacrifice. I guess that means the poor, the unemployed, the sick and the children," Vinehout says.
Gov. Walker is always telling us that once we see how great his policies are, people will realize all the doom and gloom predictions by his opponents were wrong, and we stop all this talk about recalling him next year. I'm thinking it'll be just the opposite of that.

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