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District may contract for food service

Retirement causes board to consider options

News editor

Change could be coming to the Hillsboro school food programs in the form of more menu choices and outside management if the school board follows through on a presentation at Monday’s meeting.

District food service coordinator Teresa Bernhardt announced her resignation in November.

Opaa! Food Management, a Chesterfield, Missouri-based company, already contracts with Centre, Marion-Florence, Peabody-Burns, and Canton-Galva to operate their meal services. The company contracts with more than 200 districts and serves more than 34 million meals annually.

Former Kansas City – Piper district superintendent and Opaa representative Steve Adams told board members that a preliminary review suggests the service could offer students more menu choices per meal while saving the district money.

“You’re not going to build a new building with your savings, you guys do a pretty good job, but there is potential there,” Adams said.

Opaa can provide up to five choices for school lunches, as well as offering a fresh fruit and vegetable bar, a la carte selections, and accommodating special diets and events, Adams said. The variety increases the likelihood that all students are eating nutritionally. Menus rotate on a six-week basis.

The district would continue to set meal prices, and the district’s cost per meal would be fixed for five years, with only minor adjustments based on inflation, Adams said.

It would be up to the board if current food service employees woud continue to be employed by district or become Opaa employees, Adams said. If their employment transferred to Opaa, compensation would remain the same and health insurance would be available, he added.

“We do want to take care of our employees,” superintendent Max Heinrichs said.

To use an outside food management service, the district would have to go through a 45-day bid period in which vendors, could develop and submit proposals, Adams said.

The board took no action, but indicated it would address the issue again at January’s meeting.

In other business:

  • Former Families and Communities Together director Ashlee Gann will return as part-time director after the board approved hiring her for 15 hours a week at $32.61 an hour. State budget cuts led to the exit of former executive director Joy Mark earlier this year. The school will act as Gann’s employer, but her compensation is paid for by FACT.
  • Daniel Pohlmann was hired for a full-time maintenance position at $14.50/hr.; Constantia Gauthier was hired as a part-time custodian for $9/hr.; and a supplemental contract for Seth Shields to be middle school assistant wrestling coach was approved.
  • Marion County Special Education Cooperative director David Sheppard provided an overview of services provided for special needs and gifted children. Sheppard reported 115 USD 410 students receive MCSEC services.
  • Elementary school teachers Emily Dalke, Collette Haslett, and Carisa Funk gave a demonstration of Zearn, a free online math curriculum used to augment classroom instruction.
  • Due to attendance conflicts, the board rescheduled its January meeting to 7 p.m. Jan. 18.

Last modified Dec. 14, 2017

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