The Wrangell Public School Board will meet Tuesday to discuss new options for serving food to students.
Last week, the board ended the district’s contract with NANA Management Services, the school food provider. Now the district is trying to come up with a new plan to feed students.
Wrangell Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Mayer proposed switching to a cheaper, district-based food program that would help absorb education funding cuts made by the state.
“We could save about $70,000 a year by providing a supplemental school lunch program that would still provide healthy, nutritious snacks for breakfast and lunch for students,” Mayer said.
The proposed plan would cost the district half of what it is paying for the current food provider.
The meals in this plan are simple. Lunch is a sandwich with a side of fruit and raw vegetables. Breakfast is fruit and toast or yogurt. And there would occasionally be soup or a hot meal.
The estimated cost of the plan is based on two part-time staff members working two hours a day.
Head cook Kim Wickman told the school board that is unrealistic. She said it will take more than two hours to prepare 100 meals, especially while following food safety regulations. There are currently two full-time employees preparing and serving food in the district.
The proposed program means Wrangell Public Schools would pull out of the National School Lunch Program, which has partially funded Wrangell’s food program for the last few years. Leaving the program means losing federal funds, but it also gets rid of a lot of time-consuming regulations and standards.
School board members will discuss this proposal along with other options. They may even try to get another contract with NANA Management Services if nothing else is viable. This is the first year the district used NANA.
The school district is still waiting for final budget information from the state. Last month, the district came close to cutting the entire school food program from its budget.
The board will also make a decision tonight on contracts for non-tenured teachers.