By J. NOEL ESPINOZA
Special to the NEWS
Following the passing of former Child Nutrition Director Jana Kay Landrum, the SBCISD Board of Trustees is considering replacing her direction with a third-party.
At a finance committee meeting last week, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nate Carman said they want the school board to consider a third-party child nutrition management company to provide the services.
Under Landrum, who had four decades of child nutrition experience and three-decades running the school district program, Carman said they never had any problems with the program.
However, Carman also said it is difficult to replace her with new candidates, who earn almost equally in every school district and who are relatively new on experience.
“It doesn’t replace anybody,” said Carman referring to the current staff and leadership in the district’s program.
Angel Collado, one of two representatives who spoke on behalf of Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), asked board members why they should partner with a food service management company.
“Overall you get many benefits,” Collado said. “We put six major benefits that will help the district.”
Some of the benefits include improving food quality, guaranteed financial results, operational excellence, marketing and communication, innovation, and community involvement.
“The bottom line is, we want to put out upfront, it remains your child nutrition program,” Collado said. “A lot of times, there is a stigma of what it means to have a food service management company.”
Collado said SFE ultimately came to manage the program and to allow it for potential growth that suits the needs of the district.
Javier Romero, another SFE representative who referred mostly to the operations of the program, said they have a culinary centric company.
Romero said they use high-quality ingredients, and they have salad bars on all campuses in the state.
In the Rio Grande Valley, Romero said they manage the food programs in Lyford, Los Fresnos, and Edcouch-Elsa ISD.
In addition, Romero compared the financial results of a school district that also managed its own food program and the results under SFE.
Romero said that district revenues grew 24 percent, attaining 90 percent student participation at lunch, and 82 percent participation at breakfast.
“These are some of the things that we envision,” he said. “We put plans together to help you have a good financial stability in your department.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Feb. 21 – Feb. 27, 2020 issue of the NEWS.