The Kiski Area School District is outsourcing management of its food services department for the first time.
The school board awarded a contract to Nutrition Inc. to manage the district’s food services. The contract, which Business Manager Peggy Gillespie said must also be approved by the state Department of Education, will pay Nutrition Inc. about $40,300 for next school year.
Nutrition Inc. managed Kiski Area’s food service operation on a temporary, fill-in basis this school year.
That became necessary, according to Gillespie, when the last food services director, Meredith Bailey, retired last August just before the start of the school year. The district had no time to find another director with classes about to start. Instead, the school board decided to hire Nutrition Inc. on a month-to-month, fill-in basis at a cost of $4,250 per month, giving it time to consider options.
Until Monday, the board has always opted to have somebody on the staff direct the operation.
Cost drove it to consider contracting with a management firm, according to Gillespie.
She told the board that the cafeteria operation showed a total loss of just under $300,000 over the three years previous to the current one, with employees accounting for just over half of the costs.
“The savings from (hiring) a food service company is projected at $79,000,” she said.
Hiring another food service director would cost the district around $120,000, Gillespie said.
Administration of that department is the only change, she said.
“What we are talking about is contracting the administration of the food-service fund,” Gillespie said. “We are not talking about contracting for secretarial services or (new) food service employees.”
She said the administration has been satisfied with Nutrition Inc.’s performance and believes the company’s management will provide some financial stability to the district’s food services.