Food workers want shot at program

Published 2:20 am Tuesday, April 22, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Niles Community Schools Board of Education was once again asked to think about its food service employees before deciding what to do with the school district's food service program at Monday's school board meeting.
The meeting was held at Northside Child Development Center.
The food service program has been losing money for the school district since 1998-1999, and the school district is currently considering four options to save money by restructuring its food service program.
The four options are: privatizing the food service management, privatizing the whole food service program, hiring a new manager to take over the current food service program, or let the food service employees themselves take over the food service program.
Labor relations specialist Christine Fahl from the local 517 Food Service Employees Union, spoke on behalf of the school district's food service employees at Monday's meeting.
She understands the school district needs to save money and agrees that there needs to be new management in charge of the food service program.
On May 5, the food service employees will meet with Doug Law, school district superintendent, to discuss a proposal by the food service employees to take over the entire food service program themselves.
Fahl asked the superintendent to give that proposal due consideration and emphasized the amount of time the food service employees have spent preparing it.
Scott Tyler, Niles Community Schools Board of Education president, said he understands the food service program issue is emotional for many people.
He also said the school board is investigating all options to come up with the best solution for the school district as a whole.
The final vote on the food service program issue is expected to take place at a board meeting in late May or early June, according to school district officials.
In other school reports:
The plan identifies the school district's mission and has come up with a vision of what the school district should look like in 2008.
That mission, according to the committee, is to ensure every student succeeds academically, to incorporate cultural diversity and to demonstrate a commitment of service to the community.
Glen Gerard, owner and president of Gerard Consulting, Grand Rapids, aided the committee during their work.
He also said it's important to keep that plan alive and not let it die away.
Several committee members presented the Strategic Plan and in detail explained the specifics of it.
Doug Law, school district superintendent, appreciated the work done by the committee and said the Board will discuss which of the 11 points it will start working on first. However, he said it's important to take one or two issues at a time to ensure the different points are given thorough evaluation and consideration.
He also said the plans will be revisited on a yearly basis.