Lunch vendor selection still not finalized
The Jamestown School Committee, at their June 7 meeting, discussed the final phase of negotiations before selecting a new lunch provider for the year that begins in September.
Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser said that although they hoped to vote on the new vendor at the meeting, they are still waiting for final figures on what the lunches would cost. Vice chairwoman Julie Kallfelz, a member of the food service sub-committee that has been studying healthy lunches for several months, and looking for vendors to provide the lunches to island students, said they have asked the two prospective vendors for "high, medium and low," estimates for lunch costs, based on a menu that includes whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Because they expect the figures soon, Kaiser asked the school committee if they would allow the sub-committee to select the vendor, based upon the final rates, rather than wait until the next full school panel meeting, scheduled for June 28.
The motion passed 4-0 with William "Bucky" Brennan absent.
Without revealing any numbers still under negotiation, Kaiser said that the school lunches next year will be more expensive than they have been under the North Kingstown food service contract. She noted that North Kingstown did not choose to bid on the healthy menus request of the school panel.
"We will need the support of students and parents," in order to make the healthy lunch program successful, Kaiser said, noting that the pilot program begun by Jamestown, is the first in the state and may be adopted by the state Department of Education for use by all school districts.
"We are on the cutting edge," of healthful student lunches, Kallfelz added.
Coincidentally, the school board received correspondence from grade 8 student Christian Tiexiera, who is in Maureen McGuirl's Project Citizen class. Tiexiera asked the School Committee to make improvements to the lunch program. Committee member Julia Held volunteered to make a presentation to Tiexiera's class about the on-going search for a healthy lunch provider as well as the efforts to ensure healthier meals in coming years.
In other business, the School Committee: approved several teacher appointments including Dr. Steve Colucci to a half-time school psychologist position, Faith Krause to grade 2, Kelly Speck to grade 1, Jane Mitchell to kindergarten, Christine Bernardo to grade 5 and Cynthia Cherney to grade 6.
Teachers recalled were Wendy Williams to special education/severe and profound, and Carole Melucci to grade 2 special education.
The committee approved a request for an extended leave of absence from Theresa Colantuono, the occupational therapist.