Sharing of school districts’ food services urged

JOHNSTOWN – The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services wants the Gloversville and Johnstown school districts to consider combining their food- service programs, similar to their collaboration on transportation.

BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel told the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education on Thursday that sharing of transportation this past school year has gone well. BOCES took over management of the program.

“All in all, I think things are moving in a good direction,” Michel said.

Michel said BOCES now is proposing the two neighboring districts combine their food services.

“We want to start with the management structure,” he said.

By the start of the 2013-14 school year, he said BOCES could begin to implement a consolidation of the rest of the food-services programs.

Michel said BOCES will approach Gloversville school district officials. He said he anticipates “significant savings” by combining the food programs.

He said 80 cents on every dollar spent on a shared BOCES program comes back to the districts in reimbursement.

“I think it’s a win-win for our district,” board President Paul VanDenburgh said.

Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent Michael Vanyo said today his district is aware of the possible food-service collaboration.

“We’re trying to work together as much as we can behind the scenes,” he said.

Vanyo said there’s an opportunity for the two districts to have a shared food-service director and work together on menu planning and bulk ordering.

Last fall, the Johnstown district reported its school lunch program was on the fiscal upswing.

The district began using more government surplus food in its lunches, increased lunch prices, and continued making changes launched the previous school year to reduce the district’s cost for the food-service program.

This school year, the Johnstown and Gloversville districts merged transportation services to save money.

Johnstown now shares Gloversville’s bus garage.

This new “regional hub,” Michel told Johnstown officials, already has saved $100,000. He said $50,000 in funding is being rebated to each district.

“We have also projected another $100,000 by the end of the school year,” he said.

He said the Johnstown district had a significant surplus of transportation parts. Some of the parts might be needed in Central America and South America. He proposed putting some of the items on eBay to turn obsolete parts into cash.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

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