These kids like their salad bar, but, then again, they don’t have to pay for it. (D.C. Public Schools)

Turns out school closings might not be the biggest controversy at the D.C. Public Schools these days. A top DCPS administrator took a beating Thursday at a D.C. Council hearing on the system’s school meals contract with megavendor Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality. While other districts manage to run their lunch programs in house and make a profit, Emma Brown reports in the Post, an independent audit found DCPS lost $10 million in one year by contracting out to Chartwells. Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) lambasted the “failed experiment” and urged DCPS to do its own foodservice: “I think what we’ve done over the past several years is really an abomination,” she said. Chartwells, for its part, calls the audit “highly flawed.” Note that the company, part of the $25 billion-a-year Compass Group, remains well-positioned: It recently won a new contract with DCPS.

N.B.: Merry Christmas — DeMorning Links will return on Thursday.

In other news:

UDC could be paying fired president’s $295,000 salary for the next year (Post)

David Catania has binders full of education (Post)

Found mentally competent, Albrecht Muth will stand trial for Viola Drath’s murder (PostWaTimesExaminer)

Elissa Silverman, reporter turned policy wonk, launches at-large run (D.C. WireLoose LipsDCistWTOP)

“Worst Year in History of Home Rule,” says Harry Jaffe (Washingtonian)

Pew report: Only Florida had longer voting lines than D.C. this year (DCist)

Let’s hope chairing the economic development committee goes better for Muriel Bowser than it did for her predecessors (WBJ)

Yvette Alexander’s health committee ascension could spell trouble for health insurance exchange mandate (WBJ)

Rest easy, ANC commissioners eying higher office: Hatch Act reform has arrived (DCist)

Antoine Jones, subject of landmark GPS surveillance ruling, remains in deep legal excrement (Legal Times)

Stein Club elections upheld; drama over (Blade)

No Chartered Health Plan audit till January (WBJ)

Forest Hills residents complain about not being notified about parking changes when in fact they were notified (WJLA-TV)

Home invasion, murder in North Michigan Park (Crime Scene)

Metro police chief retires after 31 years (Post)

A crazy/cool concept for renovating the Uline Arena (Curbed)

It was a good year for Anacostia, real estate wise (UrbanTurf)

D.C. may now be bigger than Baltimore (Sun)