WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley Community Local School District Board of Education members and administrators discussed food service issues and other concerns during their second monthly meeting of 2021 on Monday, Feb. 22.
Food Service Director Alex Williams reported that the district had received approximately $45,000 in reimbursement funding for the month of January, allowing them to show a profit of $6,280 on breakfasts and lunches.
The board discussed reconsidering its contract with Aramark, the company that provides food service for the district, during its Jan. 6 meeting, in which board member Jason DeLong questioned why the district is more than $60,000 “in the hole” on food service expenses despite reportedly being reimbursed by the state for the majority of what it pays Aramark.
“We have run pretty much flush my entire time on the board, so what happened?” DeLong asked in January.
Williams informed the board during last Monday’s meeting that he had contacted a number of local school districts for information about their breakfast and lunch expenses. Only two had responded, however.
“Basically, they’re in the black,” Superintendent Scott Cottingim said of the responding districts. Cottingim indicated that Tri-Village Local Schools were running “anywhere from $30,000 to $85,000 in the black, depending on the year,” saying that both districts cooked and prepared food themselves rather than contracting with an outside vendor.
Cottingim indicated that he planned to continue soliciting information from other school districts before making a decision on the Aramark contract, which he hoped to be able to do by the time of the board’s April 2021 meeting.
K-6 Principal Patti Holly informed the board of a plan by Gov. Mike DeWine to provide funding for summer school programs.
“We’d love to be able to offer summer school for our first- to third-grade kids, to make sure they have the foundational skills to move on to the next level,” Holly said.
Many local educators and school administrators have expressed concern that younger children might lag behind in these areas due to remote learning and other restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.
Holly said that K-6 administrators are planning to offer two-week summer school sessions in June and August. The school currently offers students extended hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to help them catch up on work they may have fallen behind on.
“That’s been a blessing for them,” Holly said.
7-12 principal Derek Flatter said that prom is currently scheduled to be held on May 15 at the Preble County Historical Society.
“I think that’s going to be something very unique, very pleasing to the eye, and hopefully be a great experience for our students,” Flatter said.
Flatter indicated that students had been provided with printed copies of their grade cards regardless of whether or not they were caught up on fees.
“So if you have a student and they say ‘I didn’t get my grade card,’ they might be trying to hide it from you,” Flatter said.
Flatter indicated that efforts to expand the school’s College Credit Plus program were focused on quality rather than quantity, in terms of recruiting students.
“You want to say that we’ve got more kids, but we want the kids that are in there to be the ones that can handle it, who have decided to make that sacrifice, and who are looking to benefit from the program,” Flatter said.
Cottingim discussed creating a committee to examine possible uses for funds from a $250,000 renewal levy the district plans to place on the ballot in 2021 during last month’s meeting. The levy, last passed in 2016, previously paid for the school’s roof to be replaced.
Possible uses being considered include upgrades to the school’s athletic facilities and bus garage, according to Cottingim, including a concession stand, additional restrooms, or a workout facility.
“To say we were all on the same page would be a stretch, but we had a lot of healthy discussion,” Cottingim said of the committee’s first meeting. “There’s a lot of give and a lot of take, and we’re in the middle of that process now. Hopefully at the March meeting we’ll have some clear directions, so we can really start narrowing down what we’re looking at.”
Finally, Cottingim informed the board of a $15,000 grant from local employer Silfex which allowed the district to purchase new ChromeBooks and i-Pads for students.
Twin Valley Community Local School District Board of Education meetings take place the fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Twin Valley Middle School Media Center.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish