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South Hills

Some Brentwood Council members criticize district for seeking to outsource cafeteria workers

| Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, 12:49 p.m.
A sign in support of Brentwood School District's cafeteria workers stands at a home along Brownsville Road near the middle/high school Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
A sign in support of Brentwood School District's cafeteria workers stands at a home along Brownsville Road near the middle/high school Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.

It's still not known if the dozen people who work in the Brentwood Borough School District's cafeteria will have jobs after school years ends in June.

Though the district hired The Nutrition Group, based in Irwin, to take over management of its food service operations in January, the fate of the cafeteria workers remains up in the air as the cash-strapped district looks at ways to save money in its 2018-19 budget.

Before bringing on Nutrition Group earlier this school year, the district was projected to lose roughly $20,000 on its cafeteria operations, leaders said. Now, it is anticipated to turn a small profit this year.

April Piccolo, a cafeteria worker and president of the Brentwood Education Support Professionals, said the cafeteria workers, who make an average of $13.07 an hour, have offered wage and benefit concessions. That offer was turned down by the district, which called it a “pittance,” she said.

“All I know is that we have our jobs until the end of the year,” said Piccolo before a Jan. 30 joint meeting between the Brentwood Borough School Board and Brentwood Borough Council. “We have also been guaranteed an interview with Nutrition Group.”

Food preparation is done in-house at the district. Meals are cooked at the Brentwood Middle/High School and then delivered to the two elementary schools.

During the meeting, some Brentwood council members criticized the school board for even considering outsourcing the dozen cafeteria jobs.

“This is not a good thing,” said Councilman Pat Carnevale. “It splits the borough.”

Councilman Robert Pasquantonio was applauded by the 20, or so, people at the meeting, when he called the workers a valuable asset.

Before the board decides whether to outsource their jobs, Piccolo said she and her co-workers would like to work with Nutrition Group for an entire year.

“Then make a decision,” said Piccolo, who has worked for the district for five years. “I love the kids.”

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at selliott@tribweb.com or 412-871-2346.

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