BY CARISSA SITKI
The Altamont Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, April 12, at 7 p.m. where the Board discussed a food contract with Opaa! Food Service Inc. that is up for renewal. Opaa’s Regional Director of Operations, Cindy Galati of Belleville was present at the meeting.
“The main issue that I’ve seen, personally, is with staffing,” said Board Secretary Alan Kollmann. He asked Galati how Opaa! planned to combat the problem.
Galati responded to the staffing issue, emphasizing that the job market is really tough right now and it has been difficult to fill positions. She said they are competing with restaurants and bars that are reopening and that the issuing of stimulus checks and additional unemployment benefits have made the pool of candidates smaller. Galati noted that Opaa! is recruiting through big-name job websites, but that they tend to have better luck sourcing their candidates locally. “We really get our best candidates and our best responses when we work with the school’s Facebook page and the school’s website because we’re trying to recruit local,” said Galati, “That’s really what we want, that’s the target.”
“We would really like to continue this partnership and I don’t think we’ve been able to show you the best of what we have to offer,” said Galati, “we would really like to do that, given the opportunity.”
Kollmann said that he was not comfortable renewing at this time.
Board member Shelly Kuhns said, “I’m okay with waiting, but I want to make it clear that I think giving them another year is important. I don’t think the year that we’ve had is a good measure of us. People have done the best they could with what they have in a completely topsy-turvy environment.”
“I think the supply chain complete disruptions have had a huge impact, not just here, but if you look at food service everywhere,” added Kuhns.
Additionally, there were aspects of the contract that the Board was not aware of, such as the yearly renewal of the otherwise five-year contract as well as details about menu planning and district responsibilities with the food service. “I think I’m very much in favor of renewing this contract,” said Board President Kerry Wolff, “but having learned that we didn’t know what all was in the contract the first time around, I’d like to vet it much more closely this time.
The Board decided to table the decision on whether, or not, to renew the Opaa! contract so that they can further review the details.
In old business, the Board approved the 2021-2022 school calendar; approved a Junior High Boys and Girls Track and Softball Cooperative Agreement with ALIS; approved exempt non-certified personnel salaries for 2021-2022; and amended the 2020-2021 school budget and placed on display for review at the Unit Office.
In new business, the Board approved: the employment of Kaitlin Uptmore as a Unit #10 paraprofessional and assigned her to AGS; teacher, Megan Cole’s resignation effective at the end of the 2020-2021 school year; Logan Hill’s resignation from his position as an Assistant ACHS Basketball Coach; Jarielle Cameron’s FMLA request; and a request from the superintendent to seek a five-year copier lease for the District. Additionally, an update to the Altamont CUSD #10 District Goals was discussed.
The Altamont Board of Education is scheduled to meet again on Monday, May 10, at 7 p.m.