2017-07-21 / Community News

News Briefs

Bank program to aid school nutrition program

Most people don’t hesitate to pull out their debit card to pay for a night out to dinner, the weekly shopping trip, a purchase of a new outfit at the mall or to fill up your vehicle’s gas tank. Now, through a partnership between Scarborough schools and Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, those purchases may help keep hungry kids fed in town.

Heather Clark, vice president and marketing manager, announced a new debit card program from Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution in which the bank could donate .05 cents from every purchase to the Scarborough Nutrition Program, although Clark said the amount per transaction has not been finalized.

“It is a creative funding opportunity for us to be able to support the food service lines of our budget,” Superintendent Julie Kukenberger said.

The program will be offered at no cost to the customer or school. The program may also be offered in the other communities where the bank has locations: Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Westbrook and South Portland.

Finding ways to help fight food scarcity in Maine has long been a mission of the bank.

“We wanted to do something and it be something that maybe everyone would want to donate to versus a sports team or something that someone without kids would want to donate to. I don’t have kids, but I still want to make sure kids have something to eat,” Clark said.

The program is expected to be launched in September, but the bank first has to finalize use agreements in order to use school logos and names. The board of education will have to approve such use before the program can be started.

Clark said members of the public can go to any branch to get a debit card for their school. She said transactions using the special debit cards will be noted and the bank will present a donation to the board of education in September 2018 for purchases made during the 2017-2018 school year.

“We are really excited about it,” she told board members July 13. “We feel it is really important.”

Board members were too excited about the program.

“We are big on feeding kids,” board chairman Kelly Murphy said. “Food scarcity in Maine is huge and even in Scarborough, which isn’t always apparent. It’s a fantastic use of something that everyone uses everyday and an easy way to give back.”

New bullying policy coming to schools

Last spring, the school district introduced a partnership with Maine Boys To Men and Hardy Girls Healthy Women to teach students, and adults, in the middle and high schools how to recognize and respond to sexism, violence and other bullying practices and this fall will have new policies in place as to how such acts are reported, investigated and dealt with.

Donna Beeley, chairman of the board of education’s policy committee, said the new policy is aimed at clarifying how many days it needs to be dealt with in (now set at five days) and steps needed to be taken to deal with issues.

“It really designates who is going to do what and what sort of remediation should happen,” said Beeley, who added the change was made to keep in line with recommended practices.

Board chairman Kelly Murphy sees the new policy as a better approach.

“I think this policy is an improvement because everything is spelled out for people on all sides,” she said at the July 13 meeting in which the new policy was adopted.

Student representative Thomas Vachon said “as someone who has seen bullying” in the schools, he feels “this kind of stuff is very important to have.”

Superintendent Julie Kukenberger said staff will partake in a full-day workshop on bullying with legal counsel Drummond Woodsum on Aug. 9 to go over case studies and bullying scenarios.

“We truly believe discipline is an opportunity for learning and we a re crystal clear regarding our philosophy,” Kukenberger said.

The board also adopted a new version of KJA/JJIBC (Relations with Booster Groups) that allows the athletic department to handle financial oversight of booster group accounts. The policy does not change how the money is accessed in that each group will still be able to access its money. The policy is aimed at relieving booster groups of the onerous task of financial management so they can focus on other aspects.

The board passed the first reading of this policy last fall and since then, booster groups have worked with department staff to make the change.

Aside from updating the bullying policies and adopting a new relations with booster groups policy, the board also eliminated several policies that weren’t required, including CHCA (Handbooks), JI (Students Rights and Responsibilities), JRA-R (Student Educational Records and Information Regulations) and JRA-E (Annual Notice of Student Education Records and Information Rights).

Beeley said those policies were eliminated because they are things that Kukenberger, as superintendent, is already tasked with doing as part of her job.

Compiled by Staff Writer Michael Kelley. Kelley can be reached at news@scarbroughleader.com.

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