Salem Public Schools School Food Service Local Solutions for a Strong Local Economy Proposal for Salem Public Schools School Lunch Program May 27, 2008 Authored by: Members of AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Local 294 Parents of Salem Public School Students Salem Taxpayers PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Executive Summary Page | ii Executive Summary ............................................................................................. 1 I. Financial Proposal ................................................................................. 3 2. Menu Proposal ...................................................................................... 7 3. Staffing Proposal ................................................................................. 17 4. Management ....................................................................................... 18 Increasing Free and Reduced Participation Communication 5. Supporting Materials .......................................................................... 20 Marketing Communications Materials Policy Guidelines (subject to School Committee approval) Resource Materials Conclusion In Support of an In-house School Lunch Program 21 Appendices A. January 2008 Lunch Count data B. SHS Student Comments C. Staffing Costs D. Report of Site Visit to Cambridge Public Schools Food Service Department E. Financial Backup Materials PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Executive Summary INTRODUCTION Local 294 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Workers (“AFSCME” or the “Union”) would like to thank each of your for extending to us an opportunity to be heard regarding Alternatives to Privatizing School Food Service here in Salem, Page | 1 Massachusetts. Our team, consisting of food service employees, local parents, and taxpayers, has worked for almost two years doing surveys, researching, interviewing, writing, and speaking publicly on this subject. The intention of this proposal is to demonstrate that the Salem Public Schools, without the need to privatize the program, can achieve a sustainable, nutritious, financially balanced school lunch program. After 18+ months of evaluating the existing meals program, it is clear that the current methodology cannot continue. The main issue and focus continues to be the excessive loss of revenue from year to year. The loss of revenue is due to several issues, mainly: Very low lunch counts at the high school. Decreased participation in the Free & Reduced Lunch program Staffing numbers that do not correlate with cafeteria usage. Expenditures on food that do not correspond with meals purchased. The good news is that Salem has already made the investment in the kitchens at most of our public schools. We also have a knowledgeable staff that is very talented in the area of food preparation. You will see that according to our conservative numbers, we project an $81,000 profit at the end of the next school year. This will be accomplished by utilizing the staff in a way that makes more sense from day to day, and providing an attractive and nutritious meal choice to the students, at a price point that is sustainable. Additionally, we propose expanding the snack program to include every school, and taking advantage of several free programs offered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. PROGRAM GOALS We focus on four major goals: Creating and maintaining a financially self-sustainable program Providing tasty, healthy and expanded food choices Building positive, lifelong habits regarding healthy physical and nutritional choices through role modeling and direct training Stimulating the local economy and increasing “green” solutions PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Executive Summary PROPOSAL STRUCTURE The Proposal document you are currently reading consists of six major sections. Section 1: Financial Proposal – presents a full discussion of the underlying assumptions along with our “worst case” scenario Pro Forma Income Page | 2 Statement. Bottom Line: $81,000 in revenue SC 2008-2009 Section 2: Menu Proposal – completely revised breakfast and lunch menus that emphasize healthy, tasty, freshly-produced basic meal pattern components. Section 3: Staffing Proposal – outlines changes in staffing for SC2008-09. Section 4: Management – presents the need to increase participation in the Free and Reduced program as well as better communication between Food Services and families. Section 5: Supporting Materials – Marketing Communication Materials, Policy Guidelines and Resource Materials Conclusion In Support of an In-house School Lunch Program ADDITIONAL MATERIALS In addition to the materials presented in this document, our group has developed a range of requisite materials needed to assure a smooth implementation of this proposal as of July 1, 2008. These materials include: Business Plan 5-Year Milestone Chart Alternative Financial Pro Formas exploring a range of present and future financial scenarios – with more positive outcomes Program marketing materials & web site upgrades Program policy & procedures Lists of Grant opportunities Lists of Free Resources Human Resource materials including job descriptions, Pay for performance options Large local network of Parent / Teachers / Taxpayers who are anxious to volunteer services and time Plan to fully access the capabilities of the upgraded cafeteria POS terminals & networking of the department computer system PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Financial Proposal This section is devoted to a discussion of the Financial ProForma Analysis we have recently completed. On the next page, please find our Projected Income Statement for School Calendar 2008-2009. This document was generated utilizing numbers from School Calendar 2006-2007 originally provided by Mr. Danizio, School Business Manager. These were the last full year of data available. Page | 3 Although meal counts in School Calendar (“SC”) 2006-2007 were higher than the partial year figures for 2007-2008, District level enrollment, in particular Free & Reduced enrollment, has been almost constant. Average enrollment for the entire District in SC 2006-2007 was 4,412, in SC 2007-2008 was 4,404, and the estimate for next year is 4,399. The slight enrollment dip is expected to reverse starting in 2010 based on statistical data found on the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education web site. Since we believe enrollment will essentially be constant, we initially thought that the variables that would drive program success would be price of meals and quality of food. However, based on our interviews and surveys, the decline in participation rates over the past two years is not due to meal price increases. In fact, breakfast prices have not increased for almost four years now and there has still been a decline in participation. People who don’t choose to participate all say the same things, “I would not eat that food and I wouldn’t serve it to my kids or any one else’s kids,” or “I will not buy the food because what you get is not worth $2.25 or $2.50.” The quality and variety of the food are just plain bad. The cooks, the helpers, the students, the teachers, the parents, the potential fundraising clients, and even comments heard at school committee meetings, all focus on: the lack of sensible ingredient purchases, excessive deletion of advertised menu choices, the lack of usefulness of the ingredients provided to the cooks, the lack of expanded food and snack choices, and serious degradation of the quality of ingredients. Therefore, our financial proposal focuses primarily on increasing participation rates in a number of areas. However, we have also looked very carefully at managing costs, specifically many of the component costs of meals, supplies, benefits, and salaries. We believe our estimates are quite conservative. In many cases, our estimates are less than than those assumptions made by the Recommended Bidder, yet we are showing an $80,000+ profit. PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Financial Proposal PRO FORMA ASSUMPTIONS Revenue Assumptions Assumption Based On Federal Receipts show an increase of 7.85% 5% increase Elementary School Breakfast & Page | 4 based on Meal Count assumptions Lunch; 20% increase Collins Middle School and State Receipts show a decrease of (9.76%) Salem High School Breakfast & Lunch. based on Meal Count assumptions* Local Receipts show an increase of 26.18% An increase in choice and quality of food based on Meal Count assumptions* should attract students, teachers and staff to purchase meals in school cafeterias. A la carte SHS Breakfast – an estimate Introduction of coffee and prepackaged “grab average $250 gross sales a day & go” options, as well as fresh fruit. Snacks at SHS - estimate average of $500 This assumption maintains the current level of gross sales a day, current (SC2007-2008) sales snack sales. However, it would be fairly easy support this figure to increase sales in this area given an increase in available labor and sales on multiple floors. Snacks at Elementary Schools – estimate That’s an average 60 students per day per average of $150 a week gross sales per 7 school at and average cost of .50¢ per snack. schools. Increase Milk cost to .50 (increase of .10¢), Milk prices are expected to shoot up 30-40% Increase Breakfast at Elementary & Collins to during upcoming school year. There has been $1.00 (increase of .20¢) and SHS Breakfast to no recent increase in breakfast price for 4 $1.25 (increase of .45¢). The Breakfast years. The quality of the breakfasts will be increases are included in the Federal, State & vastly improved as well. Local Receipts. Expenditure Assumptions Assumption Based On Salaries – 2% increase in salaries, add 4 – 15 Previously negotiated. Movement toward hour/week staff at SHS at a rate of $11/hr gradual reduction of Full-Time staff through attrition as well as changes in hourly rate for new employees will gradually decrease benefit costs to the program. Benefits – 6% increase, 21% Employee cost, Costs to the program are increasing 79% SPS cost, deduct benefits for 1 full-time approximately 6% in Year One. Employees will kitchen staff member (Family Benefits) due to be paying roughly 1% more each year for the retirement next three years. Expense Assumptions Assumption Based On Food – 10% increase from SC2006-2007 $25,000 more than Recommended Bidder’s food costs Equipment – 10% increase To cover maintenance costs and any new PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Financial Proposal equipment purchases. Supplies – 10% increase in cost Deduct $6072 Carlton’s “green” supplies Explore Shared cost or pilot for Deduct $3491.99 for outsourcing HACCP alternatives inspections (can be done in-house) HAACP certified employee on staff Launch a pilot program using existing stock of Breakfast trays are costing more than Page | 5 plastic reusable trays Lunch trays and are made out of Buy all the same trays for breakfast & lunch. Styrofoam! Eliminate Styrofoam! Breakfast trays $24/500 = $7062.91 Lunch Improved inventory controls could reveal trays $17.60/500 = $19,145.17 / Use only lunch additional savings. trays $24,324.64 / Potential savings of $1,883.44 Meals Tax – increase staff participation by 20% PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Financial Proposal The following is an SC2008-09 forecast, based on the assumptions stated above: Page | 6 Page | 6 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Menu Improvements at Salem High School According to data from January 2008 (see Appendix A), only 34.5 % of students at Salem High School purchased lunch, either through the Free & Reduced lunch program or by purchasing at full price. Of these students, only 62% of students eligible for free lunch Page | 7 and 37% of students eligible for reduced lunch participated. For a school with a closed campus, in which students are not able to leave the school grounds during lunch period, these are very depressed numbers. Just by soliciting comments and suggestions from the high school population, including students and staff, the reasons for the drop in lunch purchases are clear: the need for better quality food, better food choices, and less time in line waiting for food and waiting to purchase a meal. The students want to be heard, as illustrated by a student meeting with school committee members where the majority of the meeting was about the cafeteria. Appendix B lists the concerns and wish list compiled by the Salem High School students. To this end, we are proposing that the high school cafeterias provide several meal choices every day in all three cafeterias. A sample of the menus for the high school can be found at the end of this section. The recent move at the high school to sell snacks again has netted the food program an average of $500 a day. The sale of healthy “A list” snacks, is a real boost to revenue. This enables the students who bring a lunch, or who may not be hungry for a full lunch to get something that is smaller but still nutritious. These snacks can also be purchased for use after school, before activities or athletic practices. Likewise, data from January 2008 shows that only 7.34% of students purchase breakfast. 18.5% of students eligible for free breakfast and 6% of students eligible for reduced price breakfast participated in the school breakfast program. Our intent is to increase these numbers by drawing students into the cafeteria with better food, (including hot meals, yogurt parfaits, made from scratch muffins), the addition of coffee and tea, and the addition of several “grab & go” items (muffins, granola bars, fresh fruit, etc.). In addition, advertising in the main lobby with large breakfast menu signs will encourage students to go to the cafeteria to check out the offerings. A sample menu for the high school breakfast program is attached with this section. Although food quality and choice is extremely important, presentation is as important. If the food is presented in a haphazard, cluttered, hard to see or obtain manner, sales will not increase. The serving lines in the cafeterias will be reworked to maximize throughput as well as increase presentation quality. We will also work with the art department to create colorful, eye-catching signs for each “station”. PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Menu Improvements at Elementary and Middle Schools Like the high school, students at the elementary school want and deserve more nutritious meals, including more “from scratch” items. Again, offering choices will bring in more student participation. Sample menus for the elementary and middle schools can be found at the end of this section. Page | 8 Changes to the school breakfast program at these schools include more nutritious choices and a well advertised menu. In an effort to increase revenue at the elementary school level, snacks will be sold during the breakfast period for students to eat during snack time. These will be from the healthy “A-List” of approved snacks, and will serve as a way to make snack preparation easier for parents. Snacks will sell for .50 each. QUALITY SCHOOL MEALS Healthy school meals provide energy and nutrients children need for sound minds and bodies. Studies confirm what parents and teachers have said for years – children who are not properly nourished have difficulty learning. The variety of healthy food offered in school meal programs allows children to enjoy many different foods and develop healthy eating patterns. Our proposal intends to initiate, or expand upon existing, key components used by School Food Services around the world to deliver quality school meals. Such elements include: Schools offer lunch, breakfast, and after school snack programs, and students are encouraged to participate. The Child Nutrition Programs are administered by School Food Service staff that is properly qualified according to current professional standards. All School Food Service staff have appropriate pre-service training and regularly participate in professional development activities. School meals are planned with input from students and include local, cultural, and ethnic favorites of the students. Menus meet nutrition standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, conform to good menu planning principles, and feature a variety of healthy choices that are tasty, attractive, of excellent quality, and are served at the proper temperature. School Food Service staff use food preparation techniques to provide school meals that are lower in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. the offer healthy food choices that include lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or non-fat milk. School meals are marketed to appeal to all students, who are encouraged to choose and consumer the full meal. School meal participation rates are approximately the same for paying students as for students eligible for full and reduced price meals. PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal ATTACHMENTS TO THIS SECTION Breakfast Menus Elementary Schools Collins Middle School Salem High School Page | 9 Lunch Menus Elementary Schools Collins Middle School Salem High School Regular Menu – this is a 1 week sample of a 4 week set of rotating menus A la Carte PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Page | 10 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Page | 11 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Page | 12 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Page | 13 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Page | 14 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Page | 15 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Menu Proposal Page | 16 . PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Staffing Proposal Staffing Proposal Changes in staffing for SC2008-2009 are as follows: Loss of 1 full time cook, with benefits (family plan) due to retirement. Addition of 4 part time staff at the high school, at a starting rate of $11/hour, Page | 17 in accordance with the new contract. Addition of $80/month (10 months) stipend to a HACCP certified employee. This will negate the need for an expenditure of $6,000 to a private company to perform HACCP inspections. The additional part time staff at the high school is made possible by the retirement of a full time cook. The plan is to use these extra workers at the high school to improve the service and payment throughput. By using in-house certified HACCP inspectors, we will see a total savings of $3,491.99. The HACCP inspector will use one day per month to perform the school kitchen inspections. All other staffing levels remain the same. For details on staffing, and the savings incurred by using in-house HACCP inspection, see Appendix C. PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Management Increasing Participation in the Free & Reduced Meals Program It is critical to the financial status of the meals program that all students who are eligible for Free and Reduced meals have completed the application properly. As stated above, changes to the application form, to make the presentation easier to understand, must be made. In addition, the Food Services Department can request help from the state Page | 18 to provide a knowledgeable person to come into the schools and meet with parents who may have questions or concerns about their eligibility or problems in completing the form. Also, schools can take advantage of events in the beginning of the year which draw a large number of parents, to provide help in filling in the application. Examples would be the first day of school, when many parents in the elementary schools bring their children in to meet the teacher for the first time, or on a Back to School Night when many parents come into the school to learn about their child’s classes. The School Outreach Counselor may also be a great resource in helping families to sign up for the program, especially when their financial situation changes during the school year. Proper use of the Free and Reduced meals program will cut down on the number of students who run up a large debt in their meals account, due to the family’s inability to pay. Improvements in Communication Communication between the Food Services Department and parents and students in the district is critical to a well run, well used program. Communication of menus, payment methods, and help with Free and Reduced lunch applications are the main areas we will focus on. Many parents have commented that they are not aware of the lunch and breakfast menu at their child’s school. Most schools rely on the students bringing a paper copy of the menu home with them to share with their parents or guardians. As many parents know, this method does not always result in the parent receiving the menu. All school lunch and breakfast menus will be posted on the district website, in an easy to access manner. We are very lucky to have a newly designed district website, with a section already set aside for the Food Services department. Most parents in the district are unaware that they can prepay for their child’s lunch and breakfast. All students are given a meals account which is accessed through their student ID number. Complete instructions on how to prepay for school meals must be included on the district website, as well as communicated via the menu. In addition, the policy on non payment of the student’s meal account must be communicated directly to the parents both on paper and on the website. The Free and Reduced meals application form needs to be redesigned to make it easier for parents and guardians to understand. In addition, the form needs to make it clear PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Conclusion that ALL parents must complete and return the form, even if their child is not participating in the program. The application, in English and in Spanish must be found on the district website, with a contact person for questions about completing the form. It is imperative to the Salem School Lunch Program and to the health of the students that all who are eligible for free or reduced meals take advantage of this program. Page | 19 PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Sample Materials The following materials are attached within this section: Marketing Communications Materials A. Meals Application Form B. School Lunch Program Brochure Policy Guidelines A. School Nutrition Guidelines B. Meal Charge Policy Resource Materials A. USDA-Directory of Chefs for Nutrition Partnerships B. USDA-Resource Library C. Project Bread – Simple Ways to Increase Breakfast Participation PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Conclusion Why Support an In-House School Food Service? Salem’s School Lunch Program is positioned to take advantage of the many cross over opportunities for educating students how to eat properly as well as generating revenue to make the function self-sustaining. A host of studies now exist that strongly support the long-believed notion that a properly-fed (note we are not saying “well fed”) child behaves better, learns better, and performs better. Statistical studies strongly suggest that children who eat the right kinds of foods and engage in physical activity every day dramatically increase their MCAS scores. (See Appendix D: Cambridge Public Schools Site Visit) Further, it is clear that lifelong healthy eating is easier to sustain when fostered in childhood – making school meals the logical front line in the national healthcare war on obesity. Private companies realize school meals programs, and the horizontal marketing opportunities for their various subsidiary companies, can be real money-makers for their shareholders. Districts, desperate to offset rising benefit costs tend not to look too deeply under the covers as to what the costs and benefits are when handing over their food service function to an outside company. Although the privatized bottom line may look good up front, invariably pricing to the clients increases while quality of products and services decrease very quickly, usually within the second contractual year. Below are just a few of the many compelling reasons to take adequate time to really consider the longer term consequences of privatization. Common Practices in Privatization Why is this a Lost Opportunity in Salem? Often, only about 25% of the revenue generated If an outside company can generate $200,000 in goes back into the district food service, while 75% revenue from school meals programs, approximately of the revenue generated goes right into the only $50,000 will come back into the school district, pockets of large, often foreign, investors. leaving $150,000 that could be used for a huge number of other educational purposes. Companies entice districts into purchasing their When a district has well trained personnel and state- services with guarantees of performance, but often of-the-art facilities, a little management discipline miss the revenue targets projected in their initial and creativity can generate excellent revenue results. proposals. They tend to decrease quality of food Local people running a local function, perhaps and increase prices to full-paying parents within 2 – incentivized with a performance bonus option, has 3 years of the initial contract. been a proven, successful alternative to empty privatization guarantees. Companies use this opportunity to horizontally Cooking and preparing fresh foods in the school market their affiliated-company products to young, cafeteria conditions students to eat properly from a unsuspecting students – conditioning them to vast array of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as purchase affiliate products over time. low- or no-processed meats and snacks. Companies promote cafeteria improvement plans Student-run improvement programs have been that amount to window dressings, like the addition shown to increase participation in school meals. It is of cute signs or bistro lighting, for which taxpayers often true that students respond very positively to have to eventually pay. These “improvements” can fellow student efforts at designing, cooking or cost $100,000 or more depending on the extent of demonstrating meal preparation at school. the changes recommended, add to the debt being serviced, and do little to increase participation. PROPOSAL FOR SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM Conclusion Private company solutions do have a place in some school districts. In truth, many school districts around the country benefit tremendously from privatization. However, those that do benefit are often the poorest, with decrepit facilities and few resources to attract or train talented staff. Private companies can also offer decent management and disciplined accounting policy. However, these components are in place more to satisfy thePage | 22 shareholders in the private company than the customers in the school district – taxpayers, parents, students, teachers Also, let’s not forget that a private company is not a democracy, but a school district is subject to democratic process. It is easy to like the efficiency of a well run company, but it is hard to maintain democracy in a well run company. They have Chairpersons and a small group of Directors for a reason. Efficiency. In short, everyone involved agrees that Salem’s School Food Service department is in immediate need of remodeling. However, the basic elements of a truly great department are currently in place. Salem has new kitchen facilities, new systems technology, and well- trained, motivated employees at all our schools. Lack of any of these critical ingredients might be a good reason to privatize. HAVING these critical ingredients is a good reason to support our proposed restructuring of the department in such as way as to meet the primary program goals of Salem’s constituents.
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