INDIANAPOLIS – Public school administrators and teachers have a lot of meetings – it’s a natural and necessary part of their job.

But is it possible for them to meet without restaurant food in front of them, paid for by taxpayers?

That seems to be a fair question in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township in Indiana.

The school district recently provided a spreadsheet listing its food purchases (mostly restaurant or catered food) during fiscal year 2016-17.

The document included a column that listed the reasons for each of the food purchases. The reason for 269 individual transactions included the word “meeting.”

The cost of all the food purchased for those meetings was $24,440.72, which was about one-fourth of the district’s total restaurant/catered food expense of $94,796.62 for the year.

There were meetings galore, and few school employees apparently left those gatherings hungry.

One “cabinet meeting” – which we assume to be a meeting of the superintendent and the district’s other highest-ranking executives – came at a cost of $696.60. A specific restaurant was not identified for that meal.

Another cabinet meeting was held at Chick-Fil-A ($192.93), another two at Panera Bread ($202.54 and $203), and one at McAlisters ($120.98).

There was a principals’ meeting at Bob Evans ($437.86). There was an assistant principals’ meeting at Chick-Fil-A ($329.73).

There were “leadership meetings” at Chick-Fil-A ($533.01), Qdoba ($475) and McAlisters ($313.49).

There was an elementary curriculum meeting at McAlisters ($666.35). There was a school board meeting at Bob Evans ($437.86).

There was a “ninth-grade meeting” (we assume for ninth-grade teachers) at Fazoli’s ($236.56).

There were three “core institution” meetings at McAlisters  ($317.88, $228.75 and $87.50).

Some of the expenses on the food log did not offer specific reasons for the expenditures at all.

For instance, the first five entries on the document were simply listed as “meeting expense,” and included four meals at McAlisters ($367.50, $47.69, $525 and $218.75) and one at Panera Bread ($168.24).

There were quite a few other pricey restaurant transactions that did not include the word “meeting” in the listed reason.

Some sort of “leadership academy” event included a $950 food tab at an unlisted establishment.

The district spent $6,252 at C R Heroes (a pub in Fishers, Indiana) for a “Top 30 banquet,” $1,500 at George’s Grill for a “staff end of year celebration,” $1,513.71 at CenterPlate for suite catering, and another $4,968 at C R Heroes for a holiday open house.

The list goes on and on.

District residents who care how their tax money is spent might be wise to call the school and ask a few questions.