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School board OKs Chartwells food services contract

By Jessica Garcia jgarcia@nevadaappeal.com
Carson City School District

The Carson City School District Board of Trustees has approved a food service management contract with Chartwells for 2020-21 not to exceed a $50,000 administrative fee and a management fee not to surpass 8 cents per meal for 10 months with funding to be provided from the district’s nutrition fund.

The contract also includes a guaranteed subsidy of $280,138 that Chartwells agrees to cover as the district typically runs a deficit in its nutrition services program on an annual basis. If the program generates a larger deficit at a cost of $300,000, hypothetically, Chartwells would cover the $20,000 balance, district chief financial officer AJ Feuling said.

The subsidy can be reduced for loss of revenue, and if certain conditions named in the contract are violated, Chartwells is no longer bound to cover the subsidy.

Conditions include the implementation of breakfast in the classroom at Bordewich, Fritsch and Seeliger elementary schools and continuing the same programs at the district’s other elementary sites. There also shall be no strikes, work stoppages or school closings, the potential for which already is in place for the district to violate due to COVID-19, Feuling said at the June 23 board meeting. Student enrollment also must remain at a current level of at least 7,836 and total serving days for these students is to be at least 177, which also has yet to be determined as to how the meals will be served based on how school will be offered come fall.

Earlier in the year, Carson City School District’s Nutrition Services department offered students and siblings 18 and younger free meals at four school campuses after Gov. Steve Sisolak announced public schools were to be closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Meal pickups were provided at Carson City’s Empire Elementary School, Seeliger Elementary School, Carson Middle School and Carson High School in a “grab-and-go” format.

The free meals were the result of a waiver provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and school districts’ nutrition services departments were reimbursed. But it has not yet been determined whether distance learning will continue when school resumes and whether such waivers will be offered again to school districts.

Feuling said Carson City is still waiting to hear from the USDA and the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

“That really complicates things for sure, if you have kids at home doing home learning and if they don’t have the option to come to school to grab meals,” he told the Appeal.

The district’s agreement with Chartwells has been reviewed by the Nevada Department of Agriculture for approval, Feuling said.

Board president Mike Walker said at the June 23 board meeting that even if schools were to remain closed, nutrition services is still necessary for Carson City families.

“The response to food services has been well documented this year,” he said.