Share This Page

Baldwin-Whitehall board extends Aramark food pact, lays off 5

The Baldwin-Whitehall school board laid off five cafeteria managers last week after extending Aramark's food-service contract for a year.

The district will receive $103,779 from the company at the end of the 2010-11 school year, for allowing the company to run its food-service department. The main stipulation was that Aramark could hire its own managers.

The laid off managers are welcome to apply for three open Aramark positions.

The district's cafeteria fund -- which started bleeding money as early as 2004 -- has a $1.1 million deficit. The deficit grew by $54,000 during the 2009-10 school year.

"This has been an extremely hard decision for me," said board President George Pry.

Isabel Baumgart, Darlene Gilchrist, Nadine Engelhardt, Barbara Weiss and Judy Bourne pleaded with the board to keep their jobs. About two dozen food-service employees were on hand to support them.

The women found out they were losing their jobs June 14. The managers' salaries and benefits cost the district $215,000 last school year.

"We'd be willing to contribute more to our insurance and take a wage freeze," Bourne said.

Collectively, the women have a total of 52 years of experience as cafeteria managers and 86 years as Baldwin-Whitehall School District food-service employees.

Aramark has been the district's food service provider for six years.

"When we worked under a private individual, we did a good job of trying to save money and lower prices," said Engelhardt, who worked at Whitehall Elementary for 17 years.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.