Free School Meals Petition
Randolph Petitions > School Meals
Community Eligibility Option
Download official charter petition for School Meals
(This petition is archived from 2019)
The Randolph school system shall participate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' "Community Eligibility
Option," which waives meal fees for all children regardless of income status, and provides free breakfast and lunch at every
public school for every student. This policy shall replace the current policy in which families must individually fill out and
return forms to qualify for the meals program
Background and Purpose
- The Randolph Foundation for Education (RFE) wrote a petition in 2018 for a School Committee hearing on instituting free breakfast and lunch for every student at every school in Randolph, based on an idea discussed with the School Superintendent in late 2017.
- Click here for a full description of the Community Eligibility Option, in which Randolph could prticipate and save $20,000 per year in budget costs.
- We then organized volunteers (April through July 2019) to gather the 150 signatures required from registered voters, and "pre-certified" the signatures to reach the target 150 (we actually gathered over 200 signatures, but they have to be registered to vote).
- Click here for a copy of the School Committee petition
- We then submitted the petitions for certification -- that required consulting with the Town Clerk, the Town Attorney, and the School Administrator, to define the rules of exactly how the process worked, since this was the first Charter Petition. That included making up the term "Charter Petition," to differentiate from citizen's ballot initiatives and other types of petitions.
- Click here for a Randolph Herald article, "Randolph ed group fills school meals gap, pushes for change"
- Jesse Gordon and other RFE members then appeared on RCTV at a School Committee meeting (July 25, 2019) to explain the process and present the petitions, which had then been certified by the Town Clerk. The issues were outlined there -- the scope of the tasks for the Community Eligibility program; the cost savings for future school budget; and how to close the past budget gap. There will be a full public hearing within the next couple of months, to discuss the issues in more details, and to allow for full public input (with back-and-forth discussion, and without the usual three-minute time limit, for "Public Speaks"!).
- We chose Charter Section 3.6 as the guide instead of Charter Section 3.7, which would require a School Committee vote instead of just a public hearing. The RFE interacted with the School Committee members and the School Superintendent, well before submitting the Charter Petition, and knew that a public hearing was sufficient to accomplish the goal of participating in the program.