Southwest Arkansas Radio
The Nashville School Board has approved a bid from Aramark to outsource and expand the district’s food service program this fall. Board members considered three bids during a Monday meeting and chose the company over competitors Chartwells and OPAA after considering expenses and several benefits offered by Aramark. The company guarantees that the district can break even in year one and will give all food service employees an immediate two percent raise. The yearly contract promises several investments by Aramark including marketing funds, $45,000 towards the still-to-be-built Scrapper Cafe, digital menu boards, expanded menus and equipment. They are also promising a donation towards the proposed turf football field at the high school and a yearly student scholarship. Aramark currently works with eleven K-12 districts in Arkansas as well as six higher education accounts. The district’s contract will be a price per meal setup and the school district will still control the food service program. Representative Stacy Adams said that the company is there to help promote Nashville schools and will share assets and buying power. Chefs can provide staff with additional training and food dieticians can help students with special needs. In developing a plan for Nashville, Aramark looks to reduce waste while enhancing the quality and choice of food. The expanded menus should include three to five choices for elementary, five to seven choices for middle school and nine or more choices for high school students. Food Service Director Julie Smith does not anticipate an increase in lunch prices at this time. Superintendent Doug Graham said the district is doing better financially this year over last year.
“For the month of March the school district was $18,000 in the red in the food service department. This is a much better position than where we were last year. We are selling more meals now and the new cafeteria at high school is finished.”
In other business during the school board’s Monday meeting, Ed McCrary addressed the board concerning the local Gideons group distributing copies of the new testament to fifth graders. The school district will no longer allow the group to pass out bibles and McCrary said that he wanted to clear up any misunderstandings. The bibles are made available to anyone that would like one and is not forced upon anyone. The program has been conducted for over 60 years and about 150 bibles were given out each year to the local fifth graders.
The board approved Stadium Pros to construct new visitor bleachers that will include 1088 seats at a cost of $149,700. Superintendent Graham said this project should be complete by August 1st.
In the Superintendent Report, Graham made comments based on the Friday release of the school grade report by the state department of education. Nashville High School received an above average score, the junior high and primary schools received an average score and Nashville Elementary received a below average score. Graham said a plan is being developed to address the low score and to see how scores are trending on the other campuses. He said the school has not been give any type of focus designation, however school officials would like to go ahead and implement strategies to prevent that. The testing scores compared PARCC to Benchmark and this year will be changing to ACT Aspire. Graham said it is difficult to compare the different scores, however the school will be using this as motivation to improve scores and get things headed in the right direction.
The board voted to re-employ the licensed and classified staff and accepted the resignation of Tammie Vansyoc, effective at the end of the school year. The board voted to employ James Barron as primary custodian.