GENOA – Outsourcing Genoa-Kingston School District 424’s food and transportation services was up for discussion for the last time Tuesday before board members decide whether they will vote on it during a special meeting.
The board has explored outsourcing options for several months in the hope of saving money as the district faces a $1.4 million deficit next year.
During public comments, Transportation Director Gerald Stoffregen highlighted the positive accomplishments of the department.
He said the department is constantly reminded it needs to operate cost-effectively, and he said everyone possesses a “teamwork attitude.” He also said they’re committed to preparing students to excel in the community.
“I’m trying to promote the good that we’ve all been doing here as a school district,” he said.
Kathy Jurs Nelson raised concerns that outsourcing services will have a negative economic impact on the community.
“I think it’s wrong, and I don’t understand giving away a part of the community,” she said.
Some board members stressed they haven’t made up their minds. Board President Dale Pelley said members explored potential savings in outsourcing for the first time in five years because a contract ended. He added that it was also an opportunity to take stock of how efficiently the departments are running.
Board member Carol Quenett said that when the district is out of funds, everyone is affected.
“We’re just trying to protect our financial resources. That has been our goal,” she said.
Board member Laurie Nesler said people should direct their anger at the state for paring down funding.
The district faces a $1.4 million deficit next year, up from the projected $900,000 because of a decrease in state funding expected next year. During fiscal 2012-13, the district received 95 percent of its state funding. Next fiscal year, it’s expecting only 89 percent of state funding.
Brad Shortridge, District 424 assistant superintendent for finance and operations, has said the estimated net cost of outsourcing food services with Aramark, the lowest bidder, would be $732,000 for 2012 through 2015 – an estimated savings of approximately $450,000 over a three-year period.
The transportation bid from Durham School Services for the 2012-13 school year was approximately $1.04 million, and it increases slightly each year to approximately $1.09 million by the third year. Shortridge has said the company’s bid could save the district more than $1 million in transportation services over a three-year period.
The board will decide by Thursday whether it wants to hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Sunday to make a final decision on whether to outsource food and transportation services.
Board member Steve Caldwell was absent Tuesday.
The board also briefly discussed a lawsuit in which the city alleges the school district failed to finish work to a storm water detention project that was agreed upon by both parties.
The Genoa City Council and school board have had several meetings in the hope of settling the suit out of court, and officials from both sides have said the 60-day stay of the suit is a sign they’re moving closer to that goal.