Archive for Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Basehor-Linwood school lunches could look different

The Basehor-Linwood school district's administrative offices, and the school board meeting room, are located at 2008 N. 155th St.

The Basehor-Linwood school district's administrative offices, and the school board meeting room, are located at 2008 N. 155th St.

January 10, 2012

Basehor-Linwood students may see some new flavors in their school lunches in the future.

School district administrators are considering using an independent contractor for its food service operations, in a move superintendent David Howard said could save the district some money while also improving the food available to students at lunch.

“This would be a big change for us,” Howard said at the Basehor-Linwood school board meeting Monday.

The kind of service the district was considering, Howard said, would purchase food for the district and train its workers to prepare it, so the district would keep its current food-service employees. One company, Opaa Food Management, performs such services for a number of schools in Missouri. Howard said the service allowed for more “from-scratch” cooking, and administrators believed the company would bid for Basehor-Linwood's services if a contract were available.

The district currently purchases its own food through a service from the Kansas Department of Education. Howard said Opaa was able to keep costs down by purchasing its own food ingredients at a higher volume.

The move would make Basehor-Linwood unusual among Kansas public schools, though, Howard said. Only four districts in the state currently outsource their food services, he said.

“It's not very popular, currently, in the state,” Howard said.

Also at Monday's school board meeting:

• Howard said he would plan for the school board to fill its vacant position with a vote at its February meeting. He said he would ask candidates to come to the meeting to answer questions from the current board members, in addition to filling out a questionnaire ahead of time.

Anyone interested in filling the vacant board position can contact Howard by calling the district offices at (913) 724-1396 or sending email to dhoward@usd458.org. Howard said there was no hard deadline for interested candidates to apply, but he asked that candidates turn in their questionnaires by Feb. 1. The seat must be filled by a district resident who lives north of Parallel Road.

• On the day the Kansas Legislature began its 2012 session, Howard shared some thoughts on the school finance reform plan proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback.

The plan, which would go into effect for the 2013-14 school year, might hurt the district's bottom line in two ways, Howard said.

First, the plan would count all kindergartners as full-time students, but it would not fully fund all-day kindergarten, he said. That change could take away the district's ability to charge families an additional amount for all-day kindergarten, he said, which would take away a revenue source.

Brownback's plan would also reduce the state funding the district would receive for each student enrolled in the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School, Howard said, by about 15 percent.

But such details may change by the time the legislature approves a new funding formula, Howard said — and with a busy legislative session in store, that might not even happen.

“In its current form, the governor's proposal is just that: It's a proposal,” Howard said.

• Howard said he would offer to loan a collection of trophies from the old Basehor High School to the Basehor Historical Museum for a period of several years. This came after board members expressed reservations about permanently giving the trophies away.

The trophies are already on display at the museum, on temporary loan from the district.

Board members Gary Johnson and Eric Dove both said they'd prefer for the trophies to be on display at Basehor-Linwood High School at some point, but Howard and BLHS principal Sherry Reeves said the school did not have room for them at the moment.

Johnson said the trophies date back as far as the 1920s up to 1989, when the Basehor and Linwood high schools merged.

• The board approved, 4-2, to pay an additional assessment of about $4,600 to remain a part of Schools For Fair Funding, a group of districts that is suing the state over education funding cuts, for the remainder of the school year. Johnson and Richard Zamora voted against the payment.

Howard said the additional assessment was required partly because some districts had dropped out of the suit since it was filed.

• The board approved, 6-0, to extend the contracts of each of the the district's building-level administrators for one year, with compensation to be determined later. Those administrators include Sherry Reeves, principal, and Joe Keeler and Jarred Fuhrman, assistant principals, at BLHS; Mike Wiley, principal, and Amy Garver, assistant principal, at Basehor-Linwood Middle School; Teri Boyd, principal at Basehor Elementary School; Jan Hancock, principal at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School; Cindy Hiebert, principal at Linwood Elementary School; and Brenda DeGroot, director, and Nicole Hodges-Williams, assistant director, at Basehor-Linwood Virtual School.

• And the board approved, 6-0, the hiring of Barbara Lawrence as building technology coordinator at BES and Basehor Intermediate School, Stephanie Ogden as building technology coordinator at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School and Scott Henderson and Suki Roberts as custodians; and accepted, 6-0, the resignation of Christy Evans-Gibson, former building technology coordinator at BES and BIS.

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