May 21, 2001
Report Says Free Food
Costing Schools Too Much
Getting USDA surplus food to schoolchildren
could be cheaper - $1.3 million a year cheaper in fact, according
to a new report from the Institute for Social Research at
California State University, Sacramento.
The eight-month, $100,000 study, which was completed on behalf
of the California Department of Education, recommends privatizing
the 40 percent of surplus food delivery now carried out by
the department. The food is given to school districts to be
used in school lunch programs.
The report estimates the private sector can deliver the food
for $2.40 weighted average cost per case, compared to the
$3.44 plus headquarters charges that it costs the state to
deliver each case.
Nationwide, 39 states have fully privatized their systems
for delivering surplus food to school districts, the report
says. Just one, Montana, has returned to a partially state-run
"The state could feasibly privatize this operation, no
question," says one of the report's authors, CSUS economics
professor George Jouganatos. "Of course they have to
be careful and reduce any risks from privatization by effective
planning. Regardless of the location of the school district,
each student has equal rights to this food."
Jouganatos and his co-authors caution that converting to a
privatized system would have initial costs ranging from $165,500
to as high as $5.7 million if the state does not plan adequately
for the conversion.
More information and copies of the study's executive summary
are available by contacting Jouganatos at (916) 739-1132 or
the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.
further information send E-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or
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