Lend Me The Lexus So I Can Get My Free Breakfast
You can't make this up.
I admit that I was more than a little surprised when I heard that for the 2012-2013 school year, my alma mater Nicolet High School in Glendale, had started offering "free" breakfasts to all students. And yet there it is - on page 12 of the Parent-Student Handbook. Free breakfasts for all.
"Free", of course, is relative. By "free", the school means free to students at taxpayer expense.!
For those not familiar with Nicolet, here are a couple of facts: Located in the upscale north shore of Milwaukee, Nicolet draws students from Glendale, Fox Point, Bayside and River Hills (as well as students who participate in Milwaukee's 220 program). The median family income in the District is $81,245. 10% of the students are eligible for a free lunch.
A closer look at the district is even more interesting. Median family income for Glendale residents is $61,000; median family income for Fox Point residents is $87,000; median family income for Bayside residents is $77,000; and median family income for River Hills residents is $198,000;
So, why in God's green earth, are the taxpayers providing a free breakfast for students who come from families that earn on average over $80,000 a year? Good question!
Want a better question? How about asking why taxpayers are picking up the tab for students who come from homes with incomes of around $200,000?
It gets better.
While Nicolet offers bus service, a large number of students have always chosen to drive to school. Take a look at the parking lot on any school day and you'll notice not only a lot of cars but a lot of really nice cars. As a matter of fact, my guess is that the vehicles that many students use to commute to school with are a lot nicer than the cars in the garages of many residents in the Greater Milwaukee area.
For the record, parking permits at Nicolet cost $200 per semester. That's right. It will cost you $200 per semester to park your car - but Nicolet will give you a free breakfast!
I agree that it's important for teenagers to have a good breakfast. I also don't have a problem with schools offering breakfasts for the students whose parents are too busy (or too lazy) to feed their kids before they leave for school in the morning. What is crazy though is that the taxpayers are expected to pick up the tab for breakfasts for kids who can afford to pay for them.
Seriously, how can you explain to a senior citizen living on a fixed income in Glendale that the school is providing taxpayer subsidized breakfasts for kids from upper-middle class homes?
I recognize that every day we seem to be moving more and more toward an entitlement society. I mean, why should we expect parents to feed their children when schools are eager to do it? I guess I wonder how long it will be before Nicolet offers not only free breakfasts but free lunches and dinners to all students?
And why stop at students? Why not turn the school into a giant soup kitchen for all residents of the district regardless of income? Who needs restaurants when you've got the school?
For now though, it's free breakfasts for all at Nicolet.
Imagine the conversations this week:
"Hey mom, I'm running late for the bus. Can I borrow the Lexus so I can get to school in time for the free breakfast? And, by the way, can I get $200 so I can buy the parking permit?"
You really can't make this stuff up.