Shamokin Area's food service arrangement needs improved
To the editor: Following the operation of the Shamokin Area School District (SASD) cafeteria, I find the board treasurer's report showing food service fund expenditures over revenue at $74,482. Last year at this time, that figure was $82,000.
You may be told there is a reason for that, which makes sense; but when considering the fact that on June 30, 2013, the food service company definitely owed the school district more than $133,000, with another $137,000 in question to boot, I'd say it's time to seriously wonder why the board would consider doing it again.
The cafeteria operators were then advanced another $75,000 for the current 2013-14 period while still owing most of the previous overpayment.
Yes, the monies will be repaid one way or another, and I mean that literally, but a clean operation would have shown the food service company being paid their fees and profit, which amounted to $117,000, with nothing due or owing either party. Nobody should work for less than guaranteed, but that seems quite exorbitant in this depressed area.
In all fairness, I believe the new business manager is following what the contract between SASD and the food company warrants. It's my hope the change in that position will produce language changes in, not only this contract, but others as well.
I think it's time for the school district to set up an entirely different finance operation when the cafeteria is not being operated in house. There should be a clear distinction between the food service fund and the cafeteria fund, with no intermingling.
I'm not accusing anyone of deliberate wrongdoing, but it does create confusion in the least. The board should be aware of the condition of both accounts each month. This would make tracking them much more simple.
I stand by this statement and position and, as last year, I'd be happy to go over it with any interested party who questions my figures, including the school district auditor.
The thing that is forgotten here is that every penny not spent most efficiently is taking away from the chance to improve the educational opportunities for our students. That should be first always.