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Lower cost, tasty lunches ahead for USD 431
new vlc lower cost tasty lunches pic
Posters created by students at an Opaa! contracted school in honor of School Lunch Hero week. The food management company will contract with Hoisington schools for the following year, and will provide more scratch cooked items as well as a salad and pasta bar at each building. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
Approved amended Student Handbooks for the middle school and high school. 
Approved a request by FCCLA sponsor Karla Reisner for members to travel out of state to National competition.  The district, however, will not fund the trip, so attendees will need to do fundraising or cover their own expenses.

The USD 431 Board of Education decided in favor of hiring a food service company to manage the school lunch and breakfast program at a savings of nearly $100,000 for the coming school year.  With the specter of budget cuts looming makes this 80 percent cost cutting measure particularly significant.  
Two companies were considered, and the district went with the low bid from Opaa! Food Management, Inc..  Cost benefits aren’t the only draw.  The company will also give the district $13,000 worth of food service equipment.  The district will assume responsibility for upkeep of the equipment, and will be responsible for the labor, while Opaa will be responsible for purchasing, transporting and managing the program, including making sure menus are in compliance with federal guidelines and appealing to students.  District food service employees will continue to work as employees, but the company requires the director of the program to be an employee of Opaa, Superintendent Bill Lowry explained.  Jeannette, the current director, has agreed to retire from the district and work for the new company, Lowry said.   
The district will contract with the company for one year, with the option of renewing the contract each year for up to four years before a new proposal must be made.  Students will have hot and cold choices presented at each meal, and salad and pasta bars will be available at each school.  
Lowry presented lunch menus to the board.
“Opaa takes care of everything, and they will deliver one month’s worth of food at a time,” he said.  “Within their work scope, they put food in each kitchen, allowing one person to do a lot of the work on site.”    
The company will train the staff and remain on-location for the first two weeks.  More scratch cooking, including baked goods, will be on the menu, with less pre-prepared items.  
Board President Dean Stoskopf was concerned about protecting long-time loyal employees, he said, and felt  the plan is accommodating.  
“This is the best scenario for our people who have been working for the district for many years,” Lowry said.  “And the district gets the last say on any hire.”

New contracts
The board moved into executive session for 25 minutes in order to discuss non-elected personnel.  Upon returning to open session, they approved the following hires:
Ashley Shultz will teach high school social studies for the upcoming school year.  
Matthew Shultz will become the assistant high school principal and activities director for grades 7-12, as well as a high school assistant football coach.
Joel Mason will replace Meg Wilson as high school principal for coming school year.  Wilson retired in May.   
The board also accepted the resignation of Curt Schremmer as softball coach effective immediately.  
Following these approvals, the board adjourned, and will meet again at 7 a.m. on Monday, June 29 for a special meeting, on July 6 at 7 p.m. at the district office.