Physics are a factor in this. If you place 5,000 kids in a building, and only 500 fit in a cafeteria at a given time, it follows that to give them all lunch, you need to have ten periods of lunch. In my school, which has run up to 13 periods, we know this very well. In fact, I'd venture that just about any school that needs trailers is overcrowded.
There is a simple solution to this problem. All you need to do, if there are too many kids to offer reasonable lunch times, is:
A. place fewer kids in buildings, or
B. expand the capacity of school cafeterias
However, it's likely that neither of those things, in itself, will solve the issue of rampant overcrowding. That may involve creating more space, and indeed a whole lot more space than Emperor Bloomberg conceived of. In fact, that will cost a great deal of money, and the traditional mode of government obtaining said money, taxes, is viewed as a plague by leaders like Andrew Cuomo.
Mayor Bloomberg said he would get rid of school trailers by 2012. He later clarified, explaining that he would not get rid of school trailers by 2012. Bill de Blasio said he would get rid of the trailers, but has not provided a timetable. As long as we can't even fit our children into school buildings, it's unlikely we won't be offering them lunch at some ridiculous hour.
I spend a lot of time in front of hungry teenagers, and I notice a lot of them seem hungry all the time. As long as they don't make a mess or disrupt my class, I let them eat in my classes. But if Carmen Fariña really wants to do something about this, it's going to be a very tough issue. You can't place more kids in capacity-filled cafeterias, just as you can't place more kids in capacity-filled classes.
If Fariña really wants to tackle the issue, she may have to tackle the issue of class sizes. And that will require the sort of strong and sustained child-centered vision that has eluded most of her predecessors in my living memory. It's a worthy goal, and one that could make New Yorkers forgive and forget all this "beautiful day" nonsense. Dare I say it, a campaign like this might finally mean we address the issue of class size for the first time in the thirty years I've been teaching.
But it will likely meet the same resistance as de Blasio's plan for pre-K, because the catch is we'll have to pay for it.