2017-06-15 / Life in Leelanau

Suttons Bay to offer home cook’n

Students at Suttons Bay will be getting some “home cookin’” next fall.

The Board of Education voted 5-0 Monday night to approve the hiring of Doris Walter as food service director .

Trustees Jennifer Porter and Jennifer Lewis were absent.

Walter, a Suttons Bay graduate, has worked more than 30 years in food service and has the skills needed to perform the work, Superintendent Chris Nelson said. He recommended Walter for the job.

“We’re very happy to find someone who has the experience to bring (food service) in internally,” he said.

Walter will be paid a salary of $35,000 for her new position.

Early this spring, Nelson told board members that the school lunch program that had been outsourced since 2011 to Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) may have to be taken on by the district.

At the time TCAPS was contracted the state of Michigan offered an additional $100 in per pupil foundation allowance to schools that adopted a prescribed number of “best financial practices.” One practice called for districts to work cooperatively to provide service.

TCAPS has run the Suttons Bay food service program as part of its larger operation that includes feeding students at about 20 buildings in the district.

Suttons Bay paid TCAPS $5,000 a year to administer the school lunch program and picked up costs not covered by the federal hot lunch reimbursement.

Suttons Bay was the only county school to contract for food service. All others are operated by onsite staff.

But the district had to explore other options after TCAPS had been advised by legal counsel that it could be liable for financial loss incurred by the program.

Many school districts supplement food service programs with general fund moneys.

“TCAPS is willing to come in and help us get started,” Nelson said. “Any local food service directors are as well.”

Just what the district program will look like is hard to tell.

“We have two kitchens, two cafeterias … Will we be down to one each, I don’t know,” Nelson said. “I expect a few bumps along the road. I just hope they’re not craters.”

In other business during the 90-minute meeting the board:

 Approved the purchase of a new bus for $83,000. Zaremba submitted the only bid for the bus.

 Approved the purchase of computer network hardware from Cisco for $200,000.

The equipment will replace switches and wireless items which are now five years old.

 Approved diplomas for virtual students Thane Possert, Austin Roubal, Sloane McManemy, Alex Rodgers, Manise Berg, Douglas Krumlauf, Amber Salenski, Cassidie Verellen, Emma Richter, Mekenzie Snyder, Erik Grant, Austin Winowiecki and Ava Valesano.

— by Amy Hubbell

Return to top