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Mayor John Hamilton’s comments to the Monroe County Community School Corporation Board on the topic of school lunch debt, June 27, 2017:

“As Mayor, I believe that an important part of my job is championing and supporting the efforts of our public school system. The outstanding job MCCSC does educating our K - 12 students is a point of pride for this community and makes this a place in which people want to live and raise their families. My wife, Dawn, and I appreciate the excellent educations and open, inclusive environment our two sons experienced here. We are so fortunate to have an excellent public school system and a community that is committed to supporting it. Our schools have daunting challenges, with head winds coming from Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Now more than ever our community must stand strong with our public schools.

Part of that role includes being engaged in discussions and robust debate about our school system’s policies. Today our debate is over unpaid lunch debt and how the school system can best manage it. The ideal solution would provide predictability and security for students and school system alike. The ideal solution would also reflect the values of our community.

I agree with parents and professionals around the nation who say that making children dispose of their hot lunch - after going through the line to get it - is unfair, unkind, and harmful to our students. It is neither fair nor in the best interest of our children to hold them responsible for things - like lunch money - that are out of their control. I believe that as a community we can come together and solve the issue of the outstanding debt without involving our children.

I and many of my family members grew up in this school system. I served as an activist in support of both referenda to fund MCCSC endeavors. I know from experience that Bloomington is a giving community that treasures and consistently steps up to support its public schools. We have proven it time after time, chili supper after bake sale after car wash. I know that as a community we can solve this problem together and I’d encourage MCCSC to join the cities, states, and school districts around the nation that have found a better way to tackle this problem.”