Lunch trays could cost up to $200,000

Davis pitches idea of ‘old-fash­ioned dishes you wash’ rather than dis­pos­ables

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com

St. Mary’s school board mem­bers dis­cussed the ne­ces­sity of us­ing dis­pos­able prod­ucts to serve lunch be­fore ap­prov­ing to spend up to $200,000 an­nu­ally on plas­tic trays and con­tain­ers.

Board mem­bers ap­proved a con­tract with FPC Hold­ings Inc. to pur­chase dis­pos­able prod­ucts for serv­ing lunch items at an an­nual cost of up to $200,000 at Wed­nes­day’s board meet­ing. They also ap­proved a $42,110 con­tract for the on­line sub­scrip­tion ser­vice, Dis­cov­ery Ed­u­ca­tion Stream­ing.

Board mem­ber Jim Davis said he’s no­ticed “there is a con­scious ef­fort in the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tion to avoid us­ing dis­pos­able prod­ucts.” He asked Me­gan Do­ran, pub­lic schools’ di­rec­tor of food and nutri­tion

ser­vices, if she and her staff looked at the cost ben­e­fit for us­ing dis­pos­able prod­ucts in­stead of us­ing “old-fash­ioned dishes you wash.”

Do­ran said dis­pos­able items, such as sty­ro­foam lunch trays, are used when schools host back-to-back lunches “or there is an early dis­missal and we can’t clean the trays fast enough.” She said el­e­men­tary and mid­dle schools use re­us­able lunch trays most of the time. Plas­tic con­tain­ers for fruit cups are used to con­tain any po­ten­tial mess made, she con­tin­ued.

Board mem­ber Rita Weaver asked if there was any cost ben­e­fit to hav­ing split the con­tract be­tween FPC Hold­ings Inc. and Amer­i­can Pride Pa­per. She said some of the prod­ucts the lat­ter com­pany of­fered were “less ex­pen­sive by a few pen- nies.”

Pub­lic schools’ Pro­cure­ment Co­or­di­na­tor Vic­to­ria Mayle said there is a $50 min­i­mum to all pur­chases with the ap­proved con­tract.

“I didn’t want schools to or­der more than they needed” to make the min­i­mum ship­ping fee, she con­tin­ued.

Do­ran said if the con­tract had been split up, the prod­ucts would have to be shipped to her of­fice in Loveville, cre­at­ing an­other step for school staff to get the prod­ucts they needed, in­stead of to the school that placed the or­der.

In other news, school board mem­bers also ap­proved the con­tract re­newal for the Dis­cov­ery Ed­u­ca­tion Stream­ing for $42,110 for fis­cal year 2018.

The con­tract does not in­clude ac­cess to the Dis­cov­ery Plus pro­gram due to low en­gage­ment num­bers, Alex Jaf­furs, pub­lic schools’ ac­count­abil­ity and as­sess­ment of­fi­cer, said.

The sub­scrip­tion ser­vice al- lows St. Mary’s stu­dents as­sess to me­dia such as skills build­ing games, au­dio files, im­ages, writ­ing prompts, en­cy­clo­pe­dia ar­ti­cles and as­sess­ment re­sources aligned to Com­mon Core Stan­dards, Jaf­furs said.

Weaver asked if stu­dents have ac­cess to the games at home.

Jaf­furs said teach­ers are able to un­lock por­tions of the dig­i­tal ser­vice for stu­dents as re­quested.

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