Lunch workers from Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 told the board and Interim Superintendent Kyle Hastings they did not support a proposed a change of lunch vendors from Open Kitchens to Aramark.
Lunch workers spoke at the Committee of the Whole meeting June 11.
The previous board voted to switch to Aramark after a group of student council members made a board presentation begging for better-tasting lunch food.
Lunchroom workers said they met with Aramark personnel June 5 and had misgivings about the change. Complaints were that food would be delivered between two and three times a week instead of daily, steam tables might be dangerous for children and that food would be over-cooked.
“The food will be held in warmers for a minimum of three hours before serving,” said Linda Vece who works at Edison School.
Vece and other lunch employees also said local health inspectors from Lyons and Stickney had remarked informally they preferred the individually packaged food from Open Kitchens, which was more sanitary because “kids touch the food.”
Board member Sharon Anderson said her family school lunch bill was high because her child only chose ala carte items, refusing to eat the hot lunch. Hastings suggested the district could add cold sandwiches from Open Kitchens to the menu.
Lunch workers also asked to bring back the salad bar, which was provided for one year because of a grant program.
The district can only hire food service vendors from a list approved by the Illinois State Board of Education.
The Aramark contract may be cancelled when the board votes on the matter June 25. School Director of Business Kevin Slattery said Aramark’s contract would have ended up costing the district $102,012 more the first year because the district would have to pay two cook salaries and buy equipment it currently rents from Open Kitchens.
The state reimbursed $609,029 this year for most lunch meals to the district, because about 2,000 or 80 percent of the 2,500 students meet the income threshold to receive free and reduced-price lunches, Slattery said.
New security system recommended
Principals Kim Ontiveros of Home School in Stickney and Kathrine Schumann of Lincoln School in Brookfield presented a campus safety recommendation that the district do away with visitor sign-in clipboards and purchase a new electronic security entry system.
The new system would scan IDs, including those from foreign consulates, and print temporary visitor badges. The system compares visitor IDs with databases of sexual offenders and other people not permitted on campus.
Raptor Technologies submitted the lowest of three bids for $9,600. Raptor is used by Morton High School District 201, so parents are familiar with it, they said.
Business manager leaving for new job
Director of Business Kevin Slattery told the school board June 11 he would be moving to a new position at the Special Education Joint Coop (SPEED) in Chicago Heights District 82. He will be working as business manager.
This story has been changed to correct the name of the Home School principal.