Monday, July 25, 2011

Orangeburg 4 buys food service software, cuts food service workers

To laugh, or to cry?

Children in Orangeburg District 4 may get healthier meals this year, thanks to the board's decision to purchase "new food service management software program that will enable food service managers to meet requirements set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Child Act of 2010."

But because of the bad economy, they'll have fewer food service workers to prepare and serve their food.

The big winner? The software management company, which will collect $8,000 annually to "maintain" their software.

The OCSD 4 Board of Trustees voted unanimously at Tuesday's meeting to purchase the new program for $59,319. Assistant Superintendent Larry Wolfe said the old program, purchased 10 years ago, could not meet many of the new federal requirements. For example, the lunchroom service had to do a complete nutritional analysis of all the food served in the schools, something the old program could not do, Wolfe said.

The new program also has an inventory management menu planning component, he said. The inventory is uploaded into the system from the vendor, and it keeps up with the food on hand, he said. The manager can make purchases through the program, he said.

Wolfe noted that the district had to cut back on personnel because of the economic downturn, and the new program would cut staff work time.

In addition to the cost of the program, the district will pay about $8,000 annually for a maintenance contract with the company, Wolfe said.

I'm guessing here, but I suspect the initial cost of the software might fund at least three food service worker positions, and the annual maintenance cost might fund half a position per year. After all, we're talking about lunch ladies who work in public schools; thanks to the pittance they're paid, many qualify for public assistance while working full-time.

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