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Nov 2, 2009 9:44 PM by Andy Koen

No time for lunch

Everyday after school, Barbara Wanke makes her granddaughter Kiara a snack. She worries that Kiara and her classmates aren't getting enough to eat at school because their lunch period is so short.

"I'm very upset about this. I feel that our children aren't being taken care of at school," Wanke said.

In addition to the after school meal, Wanke regularly brings bulk snack items to Kiara's class at Helen Hunt Elementary.  She says the kids typically have 15 minutes to go through the line, get their food and sit down and eat. 

Many elementary schools have very short lunch periods because the lunchroom doubles as a gym. But at hunt and other D11 schools that were consolidated this year the problem is even more pronounced.

"Now that we've combined schools and have even larger populations in those same schools, it's exacerbating the problem and making it much more difficult to get all of those kids through that small cafeteria in a short amount of time," explains D11 spokeswoman Elaine Naleski.

She says district administrators are aware of the problem, but there's not much they can do.  The state has mandated classroom time, but not lunch time.

"In most places a separate cafeteria would have to be built, and that of course would take quite a few dollars," Naleski said.

For the Wanke's and many other families, that means more after school snacks are in store for the future.

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