Food service concerns addressed at principal's meeting

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Principals from all over Calcasieu Parish listened to what school officials had to say about Preferred Meals Systems, Inc. possibly coming to the lake area.

Administrators with Calcasieu Parish schools discussed how important it is that the district save money in the food services department.

Last year the district spent $16.7 million on school lunches; $5.1 million of that amount was taken straight from the general fund.

"We're losing money with every meal we serve," said Karl Brucchaus, the chief financial officer for Calcasieu Parish schools. "The issue of us having to collect $5 million into our food service program kind of came to light."

This light pointed the board in the direction of a different school lunch program known as Preferred Meals Systems, Inc. in Berkeley, Illinois.

"This is not a management program, we're still going to be in charge of our cafeterias," said Gary Anderson, assistant superintendent for Calcasieu Parish schools. "All they're doing is bringing in the meals."

While the principals voiced concerns over job loss, Anderson had some good news for that concern.

"What we've got to do is look and see which employees have seniority," said Anderson. "Any people that have lost their jobs, this company has said that they will interview those for possible positions."

School principals also questioned how special diet meals would be available through the new lunch program.

"Special diets will be taken care of," said Anderson. "If there is a special diet that's needed, they're going to hire a person to work with Morehouse and Calcasieu parishes."

If the program is accepted into Calcasieu Parish, it would serve as a 1-year program with a 4-year option to re-new it.

"No matter what happens we're going to become more efficient in school lunch," said Anderson.

If you would like to voice your questions or concerns regarding changing the lunch program, the public will have the opportunity to do so at the A & P committee meeting on March 23rd.

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