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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


Anti-Food Shaming Law Leaves Local Towns on the Hook for Unpaid School Lunch Debt


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, July 17, 2019


AUGUSTA, Maine - The Democrat-controlled state legislature recently passed a law that prohibits schools from denying meals to students with unpaid cafeteria debt - even if that debt extends to hundreds of dollars.

   The law also prevents school administration from even mentioning to the student that a debt is owed for their lunch, regardless of how much it is. 

   Under the Democrat-inspired law, students with unpaid school cafeteria debt are now to be treated and fed just the same as those whose accounts are kept current.

   In a recent Priority Notice sent out by the Maine Department of Education, the question was asked, regarding the potential for exploitation of the new law:  “What happens when everyone owes and refuses to pay because they know they do not have to, in order to get a meal?”

   The Maine DOE gave a typically political response to that question with a conventional non-answer: “The school nutrition program should make efforts to collect meal payments as identified in their local policy.”

    As for who will pay the unpaid school lunch balances, the Maine DOE says, “The school nutrition program should make efforts to collect meal payments as identified in their local policy. Once the debt is determined to be uncollectible, such as after a student leaves the district or graduates, it is considered bad debt and is not an allowable expense of the Federal school foodservice program or any other Federal program. The debt would need to be paid by non-Federal funds, such as the general fund and the debt would become the responsibility of the public school at this point.”

   Currently, the State's plan for the unfunded mandate is to shift the cost of unpaid school lunch balances onto the local municipalities by requiring them to raise the money directly via property taxes.  “The law was identified as an unfunded mandate and passed by a 2/3 vote by the Legislature.  Funding will need to be addressed at the local level.”

   Public school cafeterias are not publicly-funded like the education side of public schools.  Cafeterias in public schools function in many ways like a private restaurant or convenience store deli.  While there are state and federal programs that needy families may apply to for assistance, the cafeteria still has to be paid for the food it serves.  In Fort Fairfield, as in most other towns and cities across the State, a large percentage of the families that qualify for school lunch payment assistance simply don't bother to fill out the forms so the school cafeteria can be reimbursed.  Under this law, the school will have a much more difficult time at collecting the bad debt and will be required to continue feeding those students whose lunch debt remains hopelessly past due.







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