Steamboat School Board unable to reach consensus on food service to CMC | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat School Board unable to reach consensus on food service to CMC

Rebecca Witham serves kindergartners at Soda Creek Elementary School during lunch Monday. The Steamboat Springs School Board will take two more weeks to mull the district’s bid to become Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus’ food service provider after board members couldn’t reach a consensus on the proposal Monday night.





Rebecca Witham serves kindergartners at Soda Creek Elementary School during lunch Monday. The Steamboat Springs School Board will take two more weeks to mull the district's bid to become Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus' food service provider after board members couldn't reach a consensus on the proposal Monday night.
John F. Russell

— The Steamboat Springs School Board will take two more weeks to mull the district's bid to become Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus' food service provider after board members couldn't reach a consensus on the proposal Monday night.

School Board President Brian Kelly said Sunday that the board would vote whether to endorse the bid Monday night, but the vote was postponed to Jan. 23 because it was not included as an action item on the board's agenda.

The school district last week submitted a proposal to the Alpine Campus to offer food service at the college for the next five years. The proposal indicates the service could provide additional revenues for the school district. Steamboat's Nutritional Services Department, led by Max Huppert, serves 800 to 1,000 meals each school day to Steamboat's K-12 students and sustains itself financially with the exception of $15,000 the district supplies to the program annually from its capital reserve fund.

At the meeting Monday night, Kelly and board member Robin Crossan praised the proposal as a potential win-win for the school district, while members Denise Connelly, Wayne Lemley and Rebecca Williams questioned whether it was a sustainable plan and if it was in the district's best interest to expand food service to the college.

"My concern is our mission is to really do the best we can for our 2,300 kids, and we know we have 800 to 1,000 meals to serve a day in our schools," Connelly said. "I just have concerns that this is the best move for our school district."

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If approved, the bid to CMC would increase Huppert's food service staff from 10 employees to 25 employees. CMC's Alpine Campus houses as many as 226 students per semester. Most of the district's cooking operations would move into the Alpine Campus' new 60,000-square-foot academic facility scheduled to be completed in July.

Huppert said lunch prices in Steamboat schools would remain the same under the proposal, while prices at the college would decrease to $18 a day for a student meal plan.

"I have shown I'm able to make the money needed to provide good service and good food, and this (proposal) is going to expand on that," Huppert told the School Board on Monday.

The district estimates the proposal in its first year could net $140,000 in revenue that would be distributed equally between the college and the school district.

"I think this proposal provides several things for us," Superintendent Brad Meeks said. "Based on the numbers we're proposing, it provides us with financial benefits and it provides some of our students an opportunity to access a culinary arts program. Assuming this goes well, I think this partnership (with the college) could also lead to other opportunities."

The Alpine Campus has contracted its food services to Sodexo for the last decade. Sodexo is bidding to continue providing food service, according to CMC officials.

CMC Alpine Campus Chief Executive Officer Peter Perhac and Dean of Student Affairs Brian Hoza were present at Monday's School Board meeting.

Perhac said the college would select a vendor that will support his campus' forthcoming culinary arts program while also managing a restaurant/cafe inside the new academic facility.

The college is expected to narrow its list of food service bidders this week.

Also at Monday's meeting, the School Board discussed two potential calendars for the 2012-13 school year. Meeks said the only difference between the two is the scheduling of parent-teacher conference days in the month of November. He said parents and teachers are encouraged to view the calendars at http://sssd.k12.co.us/ and send comments to bmeeks@steamboatschools.net before Jan. 19. The School Board will adopt one of the calendars at a meeting in February.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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