Adams D50 Nutrition Services fear for jobs

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Posted Wed, Mar 17, 2010

WESTMINSTER-The Adams School District 50 Board meeting was shaken up by an audience member Monday when their loyalty to their Nutrition Services group was questioned.

Bill Lopez, a UniServ Director and committee member at Westminster Education Association, stood as the only audience member to have a comment at the meeting.

“Silence and lack of willingness to work with WEA is of great concern to all of our members,” said Lopez.  “We urge you again to examine to our requests.”

Lopez claims that the school district isn’t working with WEA to solve reported problems with the nutrition services for the students and has concerns about the current outsourcing talks.

Since Gov. Bill Ritter announced a recommended $374.1 million cut to the state’s total K-12 education budget for the 2010-2011 school year last November, many have been concerned about who will still have a job in the fall.Lopez issues with the Request For Propsals, which is what is sent to the prospective contractors from the school district, refelcted those concerns.

“The RFP requires a new company have all of the staff hired this year in District 50 and all of the future staff to be employees of the company rather than part of the family of District 50,” Lopez said.  “WEA fails to see why the school board would require the company that want to do business with District 50 causing the company to take such a position.”

While her words were strong, Superintendent Roberta Selleck’s response was composed.

“I’m really saddened and disappointed about the disingenuous comments about the district’s lack of communication with WEA.” said Selleck.

She then went on the record detailing her meeting with WEA and Bill Lopez himself last fall.

“I was looking for that joint partnership and leadership,” said Selleck. “Their response was not only ‘No,’ it was ‘we will fight you and we will bring in NEA.’”

The National Education Association works as a union for employees of schools.

Where their intention is to outsource the company that runs Nutritional Services, they have no intention of losing their current employees.

“At this point, we are not sure if partnering with an outside company is a good idea,” Selleck said. “But, if we make the determination that such a partnership offers the best service to our students, we can assure everyone in Nutrition Services their job in District 50 is safe.”

Some feel that the outsourcing stems from the statewide budget cuts.

“Some people think we are looking at the possibility of this so we can save money to address the large budget shortfall next year,” said Sandy Rotella, District 50’s assistant superintendent of Finance and Operation.  “That is just not true.”

The money used for Nutrition Services is entirely separate from the district’s General Fund.

Nutrition Service money, called an “enterprise fund,” is used only for food service in District 50 schools and cannot be transferred for use in other district operations.

“We want every Nutrition Service worker to know that they are not at risk of losing their job in District 50,” said Selleck.

In an effort to address the rumors surrounding these potential changes, Superintendent Dr. Roberta Selleck penned a letter to all Nutrition Service workers that was sent to their homes.

Though the Superintendent doesn’t address where future employees of the Nutrition Services department will come from if any contract goes through, she does stand firm in protecting the ones they have now.

“This school district has always looked out for its employees and treated them well,” said Selleck.  “That will continue.”

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