Line Mountain renews food service manager's contract
MANDATA - The Nutrition Group will continue to manage Line Mountain School District's food service program.
A contract approved by the school board Tuesday guarantees the school $4,000 in savings, with administrative and management costs at $13,548.65 and $9,740, respectively, in 2014-15.
The price of a meal in the school cafeteria will remain unchanged next school year.
Nancy Kohl, regional vice president for The Nutrition Group, told board directors that a formula that determines food costs suggested a 10 cent increase. However, the district chose to eat the cost.
Kohl was asked about the number of students eating in the cafeteria and if current prices have hurt participation. Kohl couldn't provide that information Tuesday but said $2 is the usual benchmark, noting for every 5 cents over that price, a school district can expect a 1 percent drop in customers.
At $1.90, the middle/high school lunch is nearing that benchmark.
Board President Troy Laudenslager estimated that two-thirds of the district's student population is enrolled in free or reduced lunch.
It's been reported that millions of students nationwide have quit buying a school lunch based on requirements of a healthy eating initiative endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Line Mountain is "in the middle" of the requirements to date, Kohl said, but starting next year the district must transition to all whole grains for bread and pasta.
Director David Bartholomew asked about alternatives to wheat bread, suggesting many students prefer white. Director Dennis Erdman asked Kohl to look into the price of using white whole wheat, which Kohl said is costlier. Noting the district's guaranteed savings, Erdman said he's less concerned about making a profit and more concerned that students are eating.
In other business the school board voted to:
- Enter a $8,400 contract with Mastercraft Sports Flooring, Lima, to refinish gym floors at the elementary, middle and high school.
- Approve the reimbursement percentages for two bonds that have been refinanced.
- Approve Beth Ann Reed and MaryAnn Taxis for work beyond the school day at a $22 hourly rate. They'll each work an additional 43 minutes for a child study meeting;
- Hired Kyle Mace and Ariel Harro for up to $2,175 collectively to work part time in the information technology department from May 12 to Sept. 12.
A vote on a 38-month agreement with electricity supplier Direct Energy Business, Pittsburgh, was tabled for further discussion. Line Mountain currently purchases energy independently from Direct Energy on a month-to-month basis. After averaging about 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour the district experienced a spike in January and February with rates reaching approximately 16 cents. A company representative spoke to the board directors about perhaps joining the Pennsylvania Energy Consortium to increase its buying power and hedge on potentially lower rates, but the board held off to explore other options, such as a purchasing consultant.
Also, the regularly scheduled board meeting on April 22 was rescheduled for April 29, during which the 2014-15 budget is expected to be discussed in detail.
Representatives of the district and its teachers union will meet April 22 for a contract negotiation session. Bids for the sale of the district's former school buildings in Leck Kill and Dalmatia will also be opened.