School opts for Chartwells again

FAIRMONT – Fairmont Area School Board voted Tuesday to continue using Chartwells to provide hot lunches to students.

For the 2011-12 school year, the district stopped operating a food service program, opting to contract with Chartwells as a cost-saving measure. The contract was renewed for two subsequent years, the maximum allowed by state law.

A request for bids was sent out in February, with only Chartwells and Lunchtime Solutions submitting proposals by the April 1 deadline.

A committee comprised of Superintendent Joe Brown, business manager Sue Nelson and board members Sandy Beckendorf and Julie Laue reviewed the proposals and evaluated each company, assigning points in several categories and sub-categories, such as price, nutrition and future operational plans.

“Chartwells came out with the highest number,” Beckendorf told the board. “The committee is recommending entering into another contract for the 2014-15 school year. We’ve been pleased with what they’ve done. It wasn’t just a ‘pass’ because we’ve hired them before.”

Brown noted that even with four different people rating the two companies, the numbers were very close.

“But Chartwells came in at a lower cost,” he said.

“It’s important to keep revisiting this; the bids are very competitive,” said board member Dan Brookens.

The board voted to continue negotiations with Chartwells to finalize details of the contract.

In other business, the board:

o Recognized five employees with 25 years of service to the district:?Jim Davison, elementary principal; Mary Granheim, counseling administrative assistant; Anne Holm, seventh-grade teacher; Craig Johnston, kitchen custodian; and Karen Trushenski, teaching assistant.

o Accepted a revised summer schedule, with board meetings on June 10, July 8, Aug. 12 and 26. All meetings begin at 5 p.m.

o Declined to renew probationary contracts of long-term substitute teachers Cynthia Gail, Blake Crosby and Maleah Pedersen.

o Approved hiring Kaleen Schultz as an elementary special education teacher for the 2014-15 year. She currently is student teaching in Fairmont and will graduate in May from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

o Accepted an anonymous gift of $300 to Parents and Educators Teaming Together; and $100 from Dutch Creek Farms, $100 from Bank Midwest and $500 from Kahler Automation for the robotics program.