Peabody-Burns schools will have more variety for breakfasts and lunches starting next year, as the school board decided Monday to outsource meals to a private vendor.
With food service director and nutritionalist Patty Richter retiring at the end of this year, superintendent Ron Traxson suggested switching to OPAA Food Management Inc.
Traxson felt that would be an easy option, since the company provides their own food service director.
“That’s their big sales pitch,” Traxson said. “‘We take care of (that position), plus we are going to give your kids more of an offering to choose from.’”
Along with providing the food service position for the school, the company also offers a wide variety of options for meals for kids to choose from.
Traxson said he talked to the OPAA cooks and that one of the things he liked about it was that they were accommodating.
“They said if you got certain meals that the kids like and you know that, they’ll accommodate,” Traxson said. “The director may work for OPAA but they also work for the district.
“That’s their whole thing,” Traxson said. “They want to sell more plates, they want the kids to start coming, they want to see an increase in sales so they get more money.”
Traxon also told members that the way OPAA runs their service is different than a normal school.
“They don’t run it like a school kitchen,” Traxson said. “They run it like a restaurant kitchen. They’ll be in uniform, they will be trained, and there will be expectations.”
School board vice president Terry Eberhard said she had heard good things about the company.
“I was talking to a cook in Marion and she said the food was good,” Eberhard said.
Board member Donna Glover voiced her opinion on the company.
“If we tried it for a year and decided we didn’t like it,” Glover said, “the only true expense would be hiring a new director.”
“Right,” Traxson said. “Or hire the director back.”
Overall, board members approved of trying OPAA for a year to see how it would go.
“I think it will be a good opportunity for the district to provide variety,” Traxson said.