The annual recognition event for Riverside Elementary School District 96 employees won’t be a dinner this year. Instead, a committee working to plan to event has decided to merely serve hors d’oeuvres to hold down costs. As before, the event will have a cash bar.
In September, some school board members objected to the $9,200 cost of last year’s dinner at the Riverside Golf Club. The school board formed a committee to look at ways to change the event and save money.
Michael O’Brien, the school board member of the committee, said at the Dec. 17 school board meeting that the cost of the event in 2014 will be from $18 to $35 per person depending on what kind of hors d’oeuvres the committee decides to serve. Last year’s dinner cost $65 per person, O’Brien said.
“I anticipate the budget will be less than last year,” O’Brien said.
The event will start at 5 p.m., earlier than previous events, in an attempt to attract more district employees to it. Last year, 136 of the district’s roughly 236 employees attended the event. In the past some employees did not want to go home after work and then drive back for the dinner in the evening.
The event will again be held at the Riverside Golf Club, because holding it at the golf club is cheaper than holding it at the Brookfield Zoo, the only other suitable location within the district, O’Brien said.
District 96 holds the event annually to recognize employees who are retiring or hitting various employment milestones. Retiring employees speak at the event. O’Brien said he hopes that the event will be held on May 9, but no deposit has yet been paid.
In September, the school board approved by a 4 to 3 vote an $18,000 annual budget for food for employees.
One member of the school board said he was uncomfortable with the event and wanted more information about the cost.
“I’m uncomfortable with this event proceeding in light of the budget that we did pass and known expenses that we’ve incurred to this point,” said school board member Randy Brockway, who added that he wanted at least 25 to 30 percent savings from last year’s cost.
O’Brien said he wasn’t able to commit to specific amount of cost savings at this point in the planning.
“I think the intent is to try and cut money from what we spent last year,” O’Brien said. “I feel confident we can do that, but I’m not going to commit to 30 percent right off the bat, because I don’t have figures yet.”