RSU 39 board votes to continue free breakfast at Caribou High School

5 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Members of the RSU 39 board of unanimously voted Dec. 5 to continue serving free breakfast to Caribou High School students. With this offering in place, all RSU 39 schools now provide students free breakfast.  

The board members held a brief discussion about the importance of breakfast during the meeting, with Jan Tompkins mentioning that some students may not have time to eat before getting to school. Board Chair Dr. Tanya Sleeper added that it may take some time for breakfast to become the norm within RSU 39 schools. However, all members were in agreement that breakfast will improve student performance.

Superintendent Tim Doak said free meals should be universally provided to students, as studies show that they are vital to learning.

“Free lunch should be just like textbooks,” Doak said. “If you get a textbook to learn, you should get a meal to learn.”

Former RSU 39 Food Service Director Louise Dean helped bring CEP (Community Eligibility Provision) to Caribou, which lets all students eat for free, regardless of their family’s financial status. She also pitched the idea of introducing breakfast in school classrooms to Doak when he began as superintendent in late 2015, and said he was immediately receptive to the idea, adding that students are often unable to learn if they go to class hungry.

Free breakfast at the high school began at the start of the 2018-19 school year, at which point administrators chose to continue the program until November to see how it was received before requesting on Dec. 5 that the board approve continuing the program.