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Howland schools return to in-house food service plan

HOWLAND — In one of many money-saving moves, the Howland Local School district will switch its food service provider to an in-house department this coming school year.

The board of education approved Justin Pancake for the two-year contract position of food service supervisor with a salary of $60,000 — which schools Superintendent Kevin Spicher said is a base salary for a supervisor role in the district.

The past few years the district has used AVI Foodsystems as its provider, which charged around $30,000 per month, district Treasurer Samantha Pochedly estimated.

The district will not know the full cost savings of switching to the in-house food service department until the end of the 2020-2021 school year, but it is expected to be significant. An in-house food service department has been used in the past.

“We believe it will be a very good move to return us to where we once were,” Spicher said.

The move to switch comes after the district had to transfer $60,000 into the food fund to cover a deficit this school year, a comparatively small amount when stacked against past years that saw deficits of about $150,000, according to Pochedly.

“We’re hoping to break even,” said Pochedly, who added school food service departments are not allowed to carry a significant balance or operate for profit.

The board also approved the district becoming a member of the Southwestern Ohio Educational Purchasing Council. The EPC is a consortium that does the bidding for the district to purchase various supplies and services, and is mainly for food service, according to Pochedly.

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