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Warrensburg Central to outsource school meals

During a recent lunch period, students move through the lunch line at  Warrensburg High School. The Warrensburg Central School Board recently voted 4-3 to turn over their entire food service operation to Aramark Corporation, and the changeover is to occur Jan. 3. Aramark representatives pledged last week that they will be expanding the food options now available to students.
Photo by Thom Randall

During a recent lunch period, students move through the lunch line at Warrensburg High School. The Warrensburg Central School Board recently voted 4-3 to turn over their entire food service operation to Aramark Corporation, and the changeover is to occur Jan. 3. Aramark representatives pledged last week that they will be expanding the food options now available to students. Photo by Thom Randall Photo by Thom Randall.

Due to a recent split decision by the local school board, Warrensburg Central School District will soon be turning over its kitchen and cafeteria operations to private enterprise.

The changeover, occurring as of Jan. 3, is anticipated to save taxpayer money, but cut cafeteria employee job benefits.

Taking over the cafeteria operations will be Aramark Corporation, which handles food operations in 50 school districts in New York State as well as colleges and various institutions across the nation and internationally.

Aramark regional managers were on site for several weeks in December reviewing operations of the Warrensburg cafeterias, which serves breakfast and lunch to about 785 students.

Warrensburg Superintendent of Schools Tim Lawson said that the switch to Aramark will save at least $50,000 annually — but food service workers’ hours are likely to be curtailed and most employee benefits will be slashed if not eliminated.

Aramark regional manager Noreen Czyzak, at the school last week, said that all present employees were offered jobs, and all had accepted the offer so far.

“We absolutely believe in retaining community members,” she said.

Aramark is rehiring for the cafeteria manager position held by Linda Bennett, who retired this month after 30 years of service.

The Warrensburg Central Schools Board of Education voted Dec. 3 to hire Aramark for a one-year contract, with a four-year renewal option. Next December, the school district and Aramark both must agree to renewing if the arrangement is to continue.

The board voted 4-3 on Dec. 3 to approve the switchover to Aramark. Voting in favor were board members Laura Danna, Beth Callahan, Linda Baker Marcella and Doug West. Voting against the changeover were Diane Angell, Paul Weick and John MicGlire.

Aramark was the only firm to submit a formal bid, although Chartwells Inc., which handles Fort Ann Central’s food service, initially showed interest in operating Warrensburg’s cafeteria and kitchen.

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