MUNCIE, Ind. (Feb. 22, 2016) - In a meeting Monday night, Muncie Community School Board members voted to approve outsourcing cafeteria and janitorial jobs. The measure is causing a heated debate between board members and cafeteria workers about the future of food services programs in Muncie schools.
The board initially looked into the option of outsourcing cafeteria jobs a few years ago. Superintendent Dr. Steven Baule said the board gave the head of the food services more time to find cost saving solutions. Dr. Baule said when no changes were made, the board decided to go forward with the possibility of outsourcing.
Citing serious debt, Dr. Baule said the schools made the decision to move forward with looking into food service companies as a cost-saving measure. Right now, the district is in more than $10 million in debt. The district is also facing a budget shortfall and even more financial issues with being unable to pay current bills.
Monday night, the school board announced they will be hiring Chartwell as the new Muncie Community Schools food services provider. The announcement is met with a lot of criticism from current workers who fear the risk to hire a company outside Muncie isn't worth it.
“Our morale is low because we feel like we’ve been sold out and basically we have. I just want the best for our kids," said cafeteria worker Leslie Weaver.
Chartwell recently settled a $19 million lawsuit with a D.C. school district over allegedly overcharging the city and mishandling food services. In the school board meeting, the company said it was their decision to pull out of the contract with the schools.
Current employees will be able to continue working with a contract through Chartwell. They'll also receive benefits and a one percent raise.
"Open to really embrace our employees, provide them with good services, take ownership of them with us. The level of training and benefits they’ll be able to get," described Dr. Baule.
The district will save about $500,000 in operation costs and fain $325,000 in revenue. Once the contract is signed, Chartwell will be implemented in schools as soon March.