MASSENA — The Massena Central School District School Board has approved the hiring of a full-time food services director rather than staying with a shared food services director from the St. Lawrence-Lewis Cooperative Educational Services Board.
Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said Peter Bertrand, the district’s director of food services, will retire in August, but BOCES is struggling to find replacement directors for the districts.
The St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Food Service Program will provide shared services to 19 districts next year.
“Our current Catering Manager is retiring in August and since 2010 we have been under contract with BOCES for the Catering Manager. Currently, BOCES is struggling to find a replacement. The swimming pool is limited. The civil service roster for this position is exhausted. So any position hired is temporary,” Brady said.
He said Mr. Bertrand provides services to Massena four days a week, but the district requires those services five days a week.
“Their feeling is that in their search for a replacement, three days would be the most time they could give us,” he said.
Mr Brady said he and business manager Nickolas Brouillette discussed the need for a full-time food services manager.
“Nick and I really feel that given our needs in a large district, it would be best for us to consider hiring our own. The requirements of the civil service have changed a bit, you no longer need to have school catering experience, just catering experience, which allows us to find other candidates,” he said. he declares.
The district is currently paying $99,972, but BOCES assistance received from the state reduces the district’s cost to $45,897 for four days. Mr. Brady said the maximum cost the district would consider to hire a full-time food service manager would be about $50,764 if the person needed family health insurance and received the higher amount of the salary range.
He added that because of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Universal Meals Program that allows the district to feed all students, Massena has generated a fund balance in the food service program “for the first time in a long time.” to help absorb the cost of hiring a full-time manager.
The USDA waivers had been put in place near the end of the 2019-2020 school year, but have since been extended to June 30, the end of the 2021-2022 school year, allowing schools to provide free meals for all students.
“But it’s not guaranteed to stay. We’re still waiting to see if the USDA will continue with universal meals and at this point it doesn’t look promising,” Brady said.