Friday, December 12, 2014

Howard Continues to Lag on Breakfast Program (Friday LINKS)

Maryland Hunger Solutions has issued its School Breakfast Report Card and this is one we'll be keeping from Mom and Dad.  Out of all the counties, Howard placed dead last when looking at percentage of eligible students participating:

According to this report, 32.6% of all students participating in the National School Lunch Program also participated in the School Breakfast Program.  On the Report Card itself, Maryland Hunger Solutions made some recommendations on how to address the low marks:

I wrote about this issue in May and received some interesting feedback.  As you may imagine, we have elected officials in Howard who have dedicated significant time and attention to child hunger and know the story behind these numbers.  What they've told me is that despite efforts to expand the breakfast and summer lunch programs, poverty is just too diffuse in Howard County to make a meaningful impact.

There is also the secondary issue of serving meals that go uneaten.  How do you offer free breakfast in a way that is available to students in the time between arrival and first bell, but also does not include the stigma of eating "poor people food"?  Other jurisdictions have found that the only way to do this is to make it free for all to eat, but even then meals go uneaten.

This is a sticky problem, but I hope our leaders at the Board of Education will dig back in, meet with representatives of Maryland Hunger Solutions, and work towards getting us out of last place.  We can admit a problem is hard to solve, but we have no excuse for giving up.


CA is moving!  Luke Lavoie writes that the Columbia Association will be relocating its headquarters from the Lakefront in Town Center to The Teachers Building in Steven's Forest.  This move has been in the works for at least the past three years and possibly longer.  The lease was up and renewal was going to price CA out of the space, which really needs an overhaul anyway.  As a member of the Board, I heard about many of the alternative locations and can't say there were options much better than this new locale next to the emissions shop.  CA needs to keep overhead low to keep up with the lien caps it has placed on itself.  Said otherwise - you get what you pay for.

Blair Ames with the Flier writes that Main Street Ellicott City will receive $10 million in Sustainable Communities Tax Credits.  And talk about burying the lead - Joe Squared Pizza is coming to Main Street!  (I'm no business-man, but I would have tried to tempt Nate Sowers into opening a brick and mortar River House Pizza before bringing in a chain, however local that chain may be.)

Governor-elect Hogan explained that we will need "strong medicine" to cure our state's budget problems, according to Erin Cox with The Sun.  Yet again, I feel like Mr. Hogan is learning for the first time just how our state budget works.  The vast majority of state spending is wrapped up in mandates and entitlements with much of that merely a pass-through for federal dollars.

I've joined millions of listeners across the world in my addictive listening to the Serial podcast.  When discussing with friends, it is easy to forget that there are families behind the story who are hurting and likely thought they were well into the healing stage before the first episode hit the air.  Justin George with The Sun writes a great piece about the Sayed family and their experience with this new notoriety for their imprisoned son.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: MM writes about the "dangerous alliance" between HCCA and The People's Voice.  I have no problem with this as it brings to light a partnership that has been working together for some time. Where I do have a concern is the lack of transparency on who is funding this PAC.  The People's Voice produced an "Ethics Ballot" that was printed and distributed on election day, started a website, and has been buying Facebook ads to promote its page, yet remarkably submitted a campaign finance report (search "The People's Voice") stating it had not received contributions or made expenditures in excess of $1,000. 

That's all for today.  Have a great Friday doing what you love!