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West Branch BOE drops food service

BELOIT — The West Branch school board has cut ties with the Nutrition Group after one year.

The school board unanimously voted against a contract with the Nutrition Group to provide food service management for the 2020-2021 school year. The board had discussed the contract the past couple meetings in executive session.

The school board contracted with the Nutrition Group for the 2019-2020 school year after the previous cafeteria supervisor retired. In the bid, the Nutrition Group guaranteed no more than an $18,000 from the previous. The one-year contract can be renewed four times and terminated with a 60-day notice at any time.

Andy Pettitt of the Nutrition Group in previous months reported to the board the latest accurate numbers with only non-COVID serving days (February), shows a loss of $38,045 from the same time last year, well above the guaranteed $18,408. However, the guarantee did not include one employee at $11,170 and a broken freezer with $13,229 in food, as well as beginning inventory of product that was unusable due to the expiration date totaling $5,000. And the district also received $7,000 reimbursement from the Ohio Department of Education.

Ultimately the district is showing a loss of $19,875, with the best months for sales eliminated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Pettitt. The district is losing an estimated $16,677 of reimbursement in March through May, he said.

Considering the loss in reimbursement through the pandemic and extra employee that was not included in the original budget, the Nutrition Group would have finished the year nearly matching the guaranteed loss, Pettitt said.

This month, the board determined the loss with the Nutrition Group is not worth the contract, but at the request of Pettitt, agreed to hear a further proposition from the company regarding specific costs. The board also requested a comparison from previous years from the treasurer’s office.

khowell@salemnews.net

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