Central Montcalm and Vestaburg to continue sharing food manager

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 11:42 am on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

STANTON — “The first year is always the hardest year,” said Diane Mitchell about completing  her first year as a dual food service manager for two neighboring districts.

The Central Montcalm Public School Board of Education approved a two-year agreement with Vestaburg Community School to job-share the position, extending a one-year trial period.

The vote was 6-0 with board member Mike Barnwell absent from Monday night’s meeting.

“The Vestaburg board recently approved it in a 7-0 vote, agreeing to pay our district $20,000 again this year, and raise it to $25,000 for the third year,” Central Montcalm Superintendent Jake Helms said.
“Central Montcalm schools pay the other half of her $40,000 annual salary.”

Mitchell said she works approximately 15 to 20 hours per week at the Vestaburg school building, which houses kindergarten through high school seniors, and another 15 or 20 at her home district, “depending on where I am needed.”

Menus are planned where the two schools offer the same first choice option, but second and third choice options vary, she said. There are five food service staff on hand at the Vestaburg while Mitchell supervises 13 on staff at Central Montcalm.

“This year, being the first, is the most difficult,” Mitchell said. “Vestaburg has some equipment that needs to be upgraded. I have a great staff at Central Montcalm that was willing to step up and there is a great staff at Vestaburg too. Amy Main (from Central Montcalm) is my production manager and works on placing all the orders, which is a big, time-consuming job.”

Vestaburg has seen an increase in the number of students using the food service program this past year, and both quality and variety of foods offered has improved, according to Mitchell.

“I appreciate Diane for doing this and opening doors to other things we could do job-sharing with,” Board Secretary Roxanne Switzer said.

In other business, the school board voted 6-0 to approve an agreement with the Central Montcalm Boosters for roof repairs on the outdoor concessions/athletic facility.

The Boosters have offered to pay half of the $6,000 project. The Little League program has offered to contribute $500 toward the school board’s portion, according to Helms.

Board President Doug Bowen emphasized the board will have a discussion session following the two superintendent search interviews Thursday and may or may not accept hiring one of the two candidates.

“I did not intend to say we would immediately hire someone following the interviews. We may wait six weeks or six months, or may decide to open it up again for more interviews,” Bowen said.

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