Auburn committee hears objection over free school breakfast

AUBURN — Resident Tim Doughty told the School Committee on Wednesday night that he doesn't think feeding all students should be the responsibility of taxpayers.

“What brings me here tonight is an article in the paper. … Free breakfast offered to all students. What's that all about?

Committee Chairman Tom Kendall said that the School Department wants all children to start school each day after eating breakfast, that the goal is the cost will be covered by federal and state money, not local tax dollars.

Auburn's new breakfast program is supported by the Maine Department of Education. Research shows students feel better and learn better when they start the school day after breakfast, according to the state department. Many poor students aren't eating breakfast at school. Research shows there's a stigma that would be eliminated when school breakfast is offered to all regardless of income, according to the Maine Department of Education.

Doughty complained that whether the money comes from the federal, state or city, “it is taxpayer money.” The program is “very reminiscent of iPads.” Those programs “all cost money. At this point in time in the economy, it's hard for people.”

He asked the committee to reconsider the free breakfast.

“My wife and I are on fixed incomes,” he said, and higher taxes means they have to cut spending.

Giving free breakfast to all students “when you come forward saying 'we need more money' is hard to swallow,” he said.

Doughty urged taxpayers to vote no on the school budget May 8.

Committee member Larry Pelletier defended offering free breakfast for all students. They deserve “the opportunity to start their day with a full stomach, whether they get it at home or school. That was the intent,” he said.

Committee member Bonnie Hayes said the free breakfast for all is a pilot program from now until June. If it costs too much or doesn't do what's expected, “we don't have to do it next year,” she said.

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Comments

Richard Begin's picture

objection over Free Lunch

OK Like is this Really that Important of an issue.? Many of you may find Fault with me and disagree with what I say.

But as Long as Our Nation can contineau to Waste as Much Money as we do supporting all of the Countries who are getting Foreign Aid . Then providing a Free Meal to our Young People simply cannot be that Bad.

Let's get out of Afghaniston. While we are exiting that Cess Pool, Let's with Draw from South Korea and Germany. Instead of Wasting our hard Earned taxes on these Loafers. Let's redirect our Resources.

I'm amazed that anyone could actually argue against providing food for the Students.

We have to spend a bit to see some positive results

 's picture

Do you believe it?

I just love this line: "the free breakfast for all is a pilot program from now until June. If it costs too much or doesn't do what's expected, “we don't have to do it next year."
Does anyone actually believe this program would ever stop once they get it started? If you do, I have some really nice swamp land I'd love to sell you. :-)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The laws of incrementation

The laws of incrementation being what they are, this is headed for, "Hey, let's have the whole family come over to the school cafeteria for dinner every Tuesday and Thursday nights". A's thru M's on Tuesday; N's thru Z's on Thursday. Politically correct generosity in action; AKA, peoples' tax dollars being squandered by the bleeding hearts.

Jason Theriault's picture

Cut off your nose to spite your face then

Making sure kids are feed in the morning is like making sure a bucket has no holes in it before you start using it. Teaching kids who are hungry(I don't care if they are poor and have no food or if they are rich and have plenty) is just throwing your money away.They aren't focusing on what they are doing or retaining what they are taught.

Carl Kimball's picture

HUNGRY

The facts remain the same. If they get assistance from the government or come from a family that can afford to buy their own food, the food is there in the home, these are teenages we are talking about, so if the parent can't fix a breakfast, then these teens need to learn how to make their own. Hungry they can't study, i understand, but you all are to willing to make life too easy for these teens. They can't get up on time to make a breakfast, then go to bed earlier. Stop using excuses to pamper these kids. And don't blame the teachers, the teachers are not their parents...

 's picture

Breakfast

Just when you think the "wise people" that decide what is best for us have done it all they find another way. They are eating the free breakfast at school cause time is set aside to do it. If you don't get to bed at a proper time and don't get up til you just have time to make it to school and skip breakfast I don't see why taxpayers are obligated to supply it. Those that want to study and get an education will regardless of whether we supply the cheerios or not and won't go many days without eating. I realize that alot of parents have gone to work by the time their child gets ready for school (as did I) but feeding and discipling a child begins at home. If you have a box of cereal that never needs replacing then wake up parent, your child ain't eating breakfast and its up to you to do something about it. If the family is on food stamps then we are paying twice for that cereal. Maybe if calculators, IPads, computers and breakfast don't turn out any Einsteins maybe studying, paying attention in class, no cellphone and discipline at home might be a way to help.

Carl Kimball's picture

WILMA

YES, i agree with you 100%. Been there and know where your coming from....

 's picture

Gotta love Mainers

Mainers seem to operate under the assumption that if it's not local tax dollars, it's not tax dollars at all. What about breakfast for those who head out to a job each morning? Sure, they would be more productive and happy, right? The job of the school system is to educate, not parent. If children are not being fed at home, each and every teacher is a mandated reporter and should make that call.

Mandate Reporting?

If a teacher were to contact the Department of Health and Human Services (the organization that would handle any mandate reporting) each and every time a student was not eating at home, the system would be (more) over loaded and it would constitute an extreme abuse of the system.

Mandate reporting is when you suspect child abuse or neglect (plus a few other non-child related things), and a child not eating at home is NOT abuse or neglect. Often times families are having a very difficult time using Food Stamps as a way to purchase breakfasts or other meals, and so they are forced to make cuts. If the school provides an additional meal than that is money that can be spent else where.

The budget is not asking to INCREASE your taxes, but rather to use federal and state grant money that has ALREADY been removed by your taxes to assist students in consuming a healthy meal.

Carl Kimball's picture

BREAKFAST

I do agree with Tim on this. These are high school kids, not 5 year olds. They have food in their homes and are old enough to know how to prepare a breakfast. Plus, if their family is on a food card, then the taxpayer is paying twice for their breakfast food. The average family today is 2 kids, when i was their age a average family had 8 or more. Someone needs to draw a line on all this needless spending. There are most likely more important issues to use this money on. Even though it's a pilot project, it's still money, (taxpayers money), being miss used and you can't take it back. Some times i feel the higher educated, (through schools), a person gets, the less common sense they have. It's not rocket science, people. It's just common sense...(just my opinion and not that of this paper)...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Well stated, Carl. By the

Well stated, Carl.
By the way, 'common sense' is a myth. It isn't common at all.

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