Churchill County School District trustees unanimously voted on Monday to contract its food services to a company that will save taxpayers thousands of dollars.
The school board met Monday because several members including Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon were out of town last week.
Chartwells, which operates food service programs in 4,000 schools in 600 school districts including Elko, White Pine and Humboldt in Nevada, will begin its contract for the next school year.
Sheldon said after the first year, the school district will either renew or not renew the contract. Sheldon, though, said under Chartwells, the average price per meal will be $2.17 instead of the current $4.02.
Trustee Grey Koenig said the three school districts in Nevada are satisfied with Chartwells.
“Elko, Winnemucca and White Pine are completely happy with the quality of food and services they are receiving,” he said. “They had nothing but positive things to say about the food.”
Chartwells regional director Robert Schrenk said all CCSD schools will have a self-serve salad bar, and based on reports from the three Nevada school districts, the number of students who are participating in the food programs has increased.
Sheldon said the menu will be more diverse and will give students more food choices. Additionally, she said Chartwells will determine staffing.
“Chartwells will bring in a chef to oversee the program,” Sheldon said.
The superintendent added a part-time clerical person will preside over food records. As far as Sheldon knows, the current director of Food Services position will not be in place when Chartwells takes over the contract before the next school year..
“Employees who are in PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) will stay with us, and new employees will be hired by the vendor,” she said “Our employees do not have an investment in Social Security.”
Phyllys Dowd, director of Business Services, said the vendor is able to keep costs down because of its buying power, and employees who are not receiving state retirement will work for Chartwells. Of the 19 employees working in food services, Dowd said five part-time employee positions would shift to the vendor. Furthermore, Dowd said employees working for Chartwells would be paid by the company.
“If the vendor hires, then it’s at their rate,” Dowd said.
When the school district began exploring an outside contract, Dowd said the district included food service employees in the discussion.
Because of the contract with Chartwells and savings with the district’s healthcare provider, Dowd said CCSD expects to save almost $350,000, which will bring the budget deficit to about $35,000. Once the budget is finalized and approved by trustees, Dowd said the district will be able to determine staffing and if any teachers will be eliminated due to reduction in force.
At the beginning of the meeting, Sheldon paid her respects to retired teacher and athletic director Edward Arciniega, who died last week. Arcineiga spent 37 years with the school district before he retired in 1988. Sheldon said the school district is honoring Arciniega by turning the lights on each night at the athletic complex that bears his name.
Trustees Matt Hyde and Koenig attended the national school board conference last week. Hyde said he attended several workshops on superintendent contracts and dealing with negative people. Koenig said he attended a workshop on family and parent engagement.
Several individuals have expressed interest in possibly buying the Plummer Building on East Virginia Street, but no one attended Monday’s meeting to continue the discussion.
Trustees accepted a renewal proposal from LP Insurance Services for medical, vision, dental and life insurance coverage.
The next school board meeting is April 28 and will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the new auxiliary gym at Churchill County High School. A ribbon cutting will take place followed by tours of the building. The regularly scheduled meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the wrestling room.