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Selected Editorials from the Editor

Suns & Shields Christian Inspirational Writings by Rachelle Hamlin

Selected editorials from Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.


The Roberts Trap is Sprung

By:  Bill Dunne
One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again... click here to read whole editorial


Maine’s “No Shaming” Law Could Adversely Affect School Cafeteria Budgets


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, June 5, 2019


   A new Maine law could make it more difficult for schools to collect past due lunch money. 

   Most people don't realize that a public school cafeteria functions in many ways like a private restaurant.  The meals are not paid for by the taxpayers, but have to be paid for by the parents of the students, the same way as going to a convenience store or restaurant.   While some families do qualify for taxpayer assistance for those meals, they still have to trouble themselves to fill out and submit the paperwork.  Many of them never seem to get around to it. 

   In the past, school personnel would advise the students they are past due on their lunch account and request them to inform their parents.  Also, creative ways were tried to deal with those with large past-due amounts; one of which was to offer those students a simple cheese sandwich, rather than the full meal, until their account is paid up to date.

   This has all changed with the Maine legislature passing the “No Shaming” law.  According to MSAD #20 Superintendent, Tim Doak, the law says schools can no longer deny a meal for any student at a Maine School - and can't even ask the student to advise their parents the bill needs to be paid.

   “What's happened before is a student comes into the lunch line, and is past due on their lunch account, the student would be told they owe a certain amount of money and they would have tell their parents to bring the money in,” explained Doak.  “”We can no longer do that.  The student could charge a thousand dollars and not pay for the lunch.  We can't deny them.  The school district has to work one-on-one with the parent, which I kind of agree with.”

  The feel-good law, which was passed by Democrats, didn't really put a lot of thought into the implications of their intentions.  “When I went to Augusta a couple of weeks ago, I brought up the idea of a student [in arrears] wanting to go back for seconds in the lunch line.  Can he charge it?  We don't know that answer, no one's asked that question.”

   This law is expected to cause public schools even more trouble than they already have in collecting unpaid cafeteria debt from the students' families.   “I am a little nervous with the ‘No Shame Law,’” said Doak.  I think most people agree students need to eat, but it could end up with larger bills for school lunch across the state.  At that, who ends up paying would be taxpayers unless the State or Federal put more money into the programs.  Lunch could become like textbooks. Every student has access with no charge.”

   As of May 28, 2019  MSAD #20 was owed a total of $6,901.43 in unpaid lunch money debt.  This is down significantly from the same time last year where the money owed was $52,282.36.  “The owed money has gotten better over time but the money is hard to collect in most cases,” Doak told the Fort Fairfield Journal.  “MSAD 20 sends home notices for overdue school lunch accounts. Our attempts to reach out families, to let them know their balance, has helped.”

   When Doak started as Superintendent in Fort Fairfield (2016-17), the outstanding lunch money debt was around $13,000.

   Currently in MSAD #20, 15 students owe over $100; 6 students owe over $300; and 2 students owe over $600.







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