WALLINGFORD — The Board of Education on Monday night discussed soliciting proposals from outside firms to run the school cafeterias.
According to School Board Chair Roxane McKay, outsourcing food services would cut costs. The district is projecting about a $65,000 loss for the 2017-18 school year, interim school business manager Ed Arum said.
The board first explored outsourcing food services earlier this year when it voted to submit a request for proposals at a meeting in January. The board ultimately decided against outsourcing at a meeting in May.
The decision to submit an RFP earlier this year came after former food service director Sharlene Wong projected a $350,000 deficit in the food service budget last school year, an estimate which turned out to be inaccurate. Arum said the food service account ultimately received a $100,000 subsidy from the district’s general fund.
At the committee meeting Monday night, Arum said the food service account is showing about a $24,000 deficit through the first 43 school days.
Arum said the board will likely vote on whether to submit an RFP at a meeting in January.
McKay said the board can still decide not to outsource if the current food service deficit shrinks, she said.
The meeting was attended by district food service employees, who declined to comment.
Board member Jay Cei said he thought it would be fair to the current employees if the district “exhausts all possibilities” for improving the food service account’s bottom line before going out to bid. Cei opposed going out to bid, saying it’s possible the current deficit will improve. He added that the district could use surplus funds to offset the food service deficits over the next two years.
“I don’t think we should be putting these employees through this two years in a row,” Cei said. “What’s the risk of going one more year the way we are?”