‘Just Absentee Brain-Wise’

Board member blasts parents


Calling the federal food program enabling for parents, Payson Unified School District (PUSD) board member Shirley Dye voted against participating in the free and reduced lunch program, which includes about 70 percent of the parents in the district.

“I would like to see some qualifiers ... but if you’ve ever been to 12-step, you know that this is enabling. This is enabling parents to not take on responsibility for providing food and packing lunches for their kids,” she said.

Board president Barbara Under­wood explained that the federally funded program is based on financial need.


Payson School Board member Shirley Dye

“We don’t get to set the criteria,” said PUSD Business Manager Kathie Manning. “It’s a federal program that we either participate in (or not).”

District Superintendent Greg Wyman said the same criteria apply in Payson, or New York or Florida.

The federal government offers the Free and Reduced Lunch Program to families with incomes at or near the poverty line. A single mother with two children can qualify for free lunches with an annual salary of $19,790 or $381 per week. For reduced price meals, the family of three qualifies with an annual salary below $36,612 or $705 weekly.

Manning said each year votes on renewing the food service contract.

“This is the same permanent food services agreement that is presented to the board annually,” she said. “It’s a requirement so we can participate in the food program each year.”

Dye said she would rather see counseling for parents.

“However ... some of these people out in the community, that are having children that the parents are really struggling or if the parents are just absentee brain-wise parents because they are on drugs or whatever ... these people should be getting some community group together, or some church group together that would help to counsel them to get them out of that status,” she said.

Underwood said community members have also donated time and money to put together food bags for students each weekend. “The community is stepping up above and beyond,” Underwood said.

Dye thought a better answer would be to have parents get “involved in the great American work ethic” and stop feeling entitled.

“I think a handout requires some sort of responsibility from the parent — whether it’s helping them to be educated ... make sure they are going to AA meetings if they’re going to receive things.

“This is a bad program that started out at the federal government, which may have meant well to begin with, has gotten out of control — you are raising a bunch of parents and children that are feeling entitled,” she said.


Ronald Hamric 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm only 71 but I learned a long time ago, there is no such thing as a "free lunch". You can take it to the bank that the taxpayers are footing the bill for these types of entitlement programs. Certainly some people need help in various ways, and kids should not suffer for the irresponsibility of their parents. But these programs have far exceeded their original intent. Time to re-evaluate how much and what type of "support" people get.


Robbin Flowers 2 years, 5 months ago

“I think a handout requires some sort of responsibility from the parent — whether it’s helping them to be educated ... make sure they are going to AA meetings if they’re going to receive things." So basically what I am reading is that - 70% of the parents in the area of the approximately 2000 students in PUSD are drug addicts or alcoholics that need AA? And if that is the case their children deserve to go hungry? Seriously?

"Dye thought a better answer would be to have parents get “involved in the great American work ethic” and stop feeling entitled." WOW. Where are the jobs so these drug addicted alcoholic pathetic parents can work? I seriously CAN NOT believe how anyone could see EVERY SINGLE precious child and poor Christian adult in this district like that!!! I am beyond appalled, WWJD - weep!


Mike White 2 years, 5 months ago

Something is WAY wrong with any program in which 70% of parents are defined by an arbitrary threshold as being unable to feed their children. I could buy maybe 5-8%. Shirley is right. I like her idea of parents getting food bags at their AA (or NA) meetings. And perhaps they could get some credits for helping stuff the bags with the donated food.

At some point we have to push back on the wasteful tax money giveaways, and on the sense of deserving freebies by half or more of the population that goes with it. The truly destitute families need our generous help, but not the average or typical family.


Robbin Flowers 2 years, 5 months ago

Mike, I do have a HUGE problem with the way the food program is administered, look into Sodexho and you will see what I mean, the program is a total quagmire of filth. When I was in school we had real people, making home made food, with descent paying jobs for the cafeteria staff. Not that way anymore. Now multi-national corporations run the kitchens with the cheapest ingredients, grown/raised in places where there are no environmental protections, and many worker's on visas with minimal pay and benefits. Did you know that China and America recently had a "chicken" parts war over who was going to get the parts for the chicken nuggets? Yummy!!! But, that doesn't mean that the children shouldn't be fed. The horror is what they are being fed, and how they have been trained to eat highly processed food that does make them sick and have "behavioral" problems. It does take a village and children are always hungry, but how does that justify feeding them like pigs at a slop yard?


Mike White 2 years, 5 months ago

If the parents re-assumed responsibility for caring for their children rather than having bureaucrats and public employees do so, then the parents could and likely would ensure make sure the meals were at least halfway palatable and nutritious, Michelle Obama notwithstanding.


H. Wm. Rhea III 2 years, 5 months ago

Parents would be better off to send their kids to school with a sack lunch full of candy than to let them eat what is now served in schools nation wide. Pink slime ring any bells?


Ted Paulk 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow, again you "Christians" surprise me with your disregard for the health and happiness of poor children. Who cares if the circumstances that cause the kids to be hungry doesn't suit your sensibilities? Think of the children while your typing away your hateful remarks with a full gut... And by the way, one of you commentators has lived off the government your whole life and is still getting a huge retirement check every month...yet you condemn poor children!! Rant on dude.


Ronald Hamric 2 years, 5 months ago


I will only reply to the degree you deserve. You're pathetic.


Pat Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

The schools try to sign up kids for free meals when they don't need it. somewhere I posted about my great grandson being in the cafeteria because he got to school early and it was cold so he went in there to be warm. The worker was trying to make him eat and sign him up for free food. When he told his mother she went to school and straightened them out. He is very well fed at home. The school probably wastes more food than what the kids eat.


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