PLATTSBURGH — Champlain Valley Educational Services has handed the keys to its kitchen to the Plattsburgh City School District.
The two schools recently entered into a shared service agreement, under which PCSD will provide cafeteria services at CVES’s Plattsburgh campus for the 2012-13 school year.
”With fewer students and less meals being served at the CVES campus, we sought to maximize efficiencies by pursuing shared services in our food-service department,” said Champlain Valley Educational Services Superintendent Craig King in an email to the Press-Republican.
CVES, which offers career and technical training and special-education services to 17 school districts in Clinton, Essex, Warren and Washington counties, has experienced decreased enrollment in recent years as a result of schools returning many of their special-education students to their districts.
”Collaboration between CVES and component school districts, wherever possible, provides benefits to students, CVES, component school districts and taxpayers in the North Country,” King said.
He expects the move will save CVES’s component school districts, which pay for students’ access to CVES programs, a combined total of approximately $10,000 to $20,000 annually.
THREE LAID OFF
On July 1, the City School District began providing breakfast and lunch services for participants of summer programming at CVES’s Plattsburgh campus.
“As a result, three CVES food-service staff were laid off ... and all current food-service staff at this location are employees of Plattsburgh City School District,” King said.
So far this su
mmer, the district has been able to provide the services at CVES using just one employee, who both prepares and serves the meals, according to Plattsburgh City School District Associate Superintendent Jay Lebrun.
“We haven’t hired any additional staff, but that’s because we don’t operate any kitchens (within the district) in the summertime, so our employee was available and interested in working during the summer,” Lebrun said in an email to the Press-Republican.
Because Champlain Valley Educational Services is going through changes in enrollment, Lebrun said, projecting meal participation at the facility for the fall has been difficult.
“So we have three distinct models ready to implement come September,” he said.
“The first, which would be enacted in the event of very low meal participation, is one in which we would prepare the meals within one of our buildings, presumably PHS (Plattsburgh High School), and then ship and serve at CVES.”
If participation levels are comparable to those of the summer, PSCD would use a similar system as it does now, where a cook manager provides all meal services at CVES’ Plattsburgh campus.
Lebrun said there would likely be no new hires with this model, but some of PSCD’s part-time kitchen staff would likely be given more hours in order to free someone up to work at CVES.
And if meal participation is high at CVES’ Plattsburgh campus, he said, a food-service helper would be placed at the location to assist the cook manager. This could require an additional hire, depending on how many employees are interested in transferring or picking up extra hours.
”Once September comes, we may or may not need to hire an additional staffer,” Lebrun said.
SMOOTH SO FAR
The district’s goal is to at least break even on regular breakfast and lunch sales at CVES and then, potentially generate a profit from a-la-carte, adult meal and catering sales.
”We’re fairly confident in being able to do this,” Lebrun said.
Both King and Lebrun said cafeteria services have been running smoothly at CVES’s Plattsburgh campus so far.
”We’ll reevaluate this partnership on several occasions throughout the year, and by spring each party will need to decide whether to continue this agreement through 2013-2014,” Lebrun said.
“But, as with most shared service initiatives, I think the intention is great, and I’m very hopeful that this will work out well for both CVES and the district.”
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