CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Here’s a simple question:

If the members of the Sweetwater Union High School District school board insist on eating on the taxpayers’ dime when they have “after hours meetings,” why don’t they schedule meetings for more convenient times, after they’ve had dinner at home?

And if they absolutely must eat at their meetings, with the school district picking up the tab, couldn’t they grab something at Burger King, Taco Bell or McDonald’s, and spend a little less tax money?

The five Sweetwater Union board members are in the habit of ordering expensive food for their meetings, according to documents provided by the school district through a public information request.

They usually have multiple orders from different restaurants at each meeting, probably to satisfy diverse tastes.

On district financial documents, they rationalize the purchases by claiming that each food order was for an “after-hours board of trustees meeting.”

On May 25, 2017 the board members spent $70.31 at Fillipis Pizza, $76.86 at Los Panchos, and $67.81 at Los Panchos. That means it cost the taxpayers $214.96 just so their elected school officials would not get hungry during a meeting.

On March 30, 2017, the board spent $140.09 at Olive Garden and $76.36 at Los Panchos, for a total of $216.45.

On Aug. 29, 2016, it spent $89.48 at El Patio Restaurant, $63.31 at La Bella’s Pizza and $48.88 at Hungry Hank’s. That all came to $201.67.

Overall the board had 10 meetings where they ordered food in fiscal year 2016-17, for a total of $1,733.42.

That’s obviously not a great deal of money, particularly for a large school district with a huge budget, but every penny counts.

We’re willing to bet that the $1,733.42 could have been spent on something beneficial to students.