Starting next school year, Minooka School District 201 will offer its students a fresh approach to lunch instead of the standard heat-and-eat foods.
In a regular board of education meeting Monday, Superintendent Kris Monn said the district needed to replace the food services director because of a resignation, which would allow the district to look at all possibilities.
The board agreed, with members Ed Cronin and Andy Karceski absent, to execute a two-year agreement with Quest Food Management Services for food service consulting.
“This would be a contract where they would bring in a food service director for us. That person would also give us access to their footprint of resources throughout the area,” Monn said. “Their focus is on fresh food and getting fresh food offerings into the schools, and that’s been an interest of mine since I got here.”
Base management fees include $20,000 each year. The district would absorb the cost and benefits for the food services director, who would have an salary of about $60,000 to $65,000 a year.
Nick Saccaro, president of Quest Food Management Services, spoke to the board about the Lombard-based company and its programs.
“Our niche in the marketplace has been bringing fresh food, a lot of food that is more, I think, designed to meet the needs and demands of students today, than traditional cafeteria service,” Saccaro said. “If you think about what students have grown up with, they have never grown up in an era without a Subway, Chipotle or even Starbucks, where they have things made their way and perceived to be fresh.”
Monn said the consultant would come into the schools and teach the current kitchen staff how to make meals within the program in hopes that more students will want to be a part of the school lunch program. Costs for the lunches will follow the district’s current pricing schedule.
Saccaro said in the near future the company would put together food committees and sit with students to find out what foods work. There might also be different food offerings in different buildings.
The board will again partner with Minooka High School District 111 in a joint five-year bus lease next year.
The district put out bids to lease eight buses and three wheelchair buses.
District 201 business manager Mary Robinson recommended, and the board agreed, to accept the second lowest bid from Central States for eight Bluebird brand buses.
The bid included a five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, and district mechanics could do work on the buses with reimbursement from the company.
Robinson said this would save the district time and money, if it did not have to send the buses out for maintenance. The difference between the lowest bids was $700, but Robinson said reimbursements for each bus would be anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 during the lease life of the bus.
The 2019-20 calendar also was approved during the meeting.