Budget Cuts, Subsidies, and McDonalds.

Proposed McDonald’s in the high school’s Snack Shack / Photoshopper: Chris Waage

Funding is a continual problem for public schools all around the country. One of the first programs to often face budget cuts are sadly school lunch programs. During a spring budgetary review cycle, Orcas Island school district faced a 10% reduction across the board in terms of funding. In response to this, for the upcoming school year they are going to suspend lunch operations for high school students and instead outsource it to private interests. This will not affect the free or subsidized lunch program, as that is run via the state and federal government.

Thus far there have been a few groups who have shown interest, but by far the largest is McDonald’s. This could spell an interesting new chapter for our school which is being met with great controversy. Local advocates for school lunch programs are already lobbying for a budgetary increase from the state so that they can still support the lunch program. These efforts have been echoed by some students, who are sad to see their lunch program go. “It’s all just processed foods, have you seen how they make their chicken nuggets?” said Mirah Guzauskas.

However, this sentiment is not shared by all students on Orcas. “Think about it, I could just go and buy a diet Pepsi at lunch,” said student Tommy Sprenger. In a similar vein, when asked about her thoughts on the issue, Hazel McKenzie responded: “Have you tried their French fries? They are so good!” Currently the plan being pursued would have the McDonald’s centrally located at the old snack stand in the high school commons. The overall consensus was a positive one by the students. So we go into the school year with a re-heated excitement for the fresh, or should I say pre-prepared, new school lunch program.

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