Kingman Unified School District brings in new flavors with change to food services program
KINGMAN – Students will see a change in the school lunch menu when schools open for Kingman Unified School District. The district’s governing board approved Chartwells Schools Dining Services, a food services company, to provide food services to the various schools in the district.
Charles Lucero, board president, said the board decided to make the change in the food services program to save money and provide better quality to the students.
When deciding which food services company the district was going to give the award to, they made sure to keep current district employees in mind.
Ahron Sherman, KUSD finance director, said some of the companies they received proposals from were going to “pull the rug.”
“We knew we had to protect the employees,” he said.
Kitchen employees were concerned whether they were still going to have a job for the 2019-2020 school year, but employees can keep their jobs if they want to continue with their role.
“They become Chartwells employees. They are eligible for benefits on day one and have no probation period,” he said.
The change brings in upsides and downsides when it comes to benefits. Employees will have cheaper health insurance rates for covering their whole family through Chartwells, and when covering themselves with health insurance they will have to pay premiums unlike they do now. Another downside is employees won’t have funds put into their Arizona State Retirement System once the change happens.
“The goal was to get them as close as possible to how they are currently,” Sherman said.
Although a new company is coming in, the district will still be in control and is not out of the picture, Sherman said.
Chartwells will bring to the table various programs that increase student participation, new cooking options and focus groups with students. One of the programs they mentioned was breakfast on bus.
“We are excited to work with them and all of the options they will have in the next couple of years,” Lucero said.
Students also had an opportunity to help make the decision. Students and staff sampled the food earlier this year and they enjoyed want they offered, Lucero said.
Other schools in the area under Chartwells contracts are the Bullhead City Elementary District and Colorado River Union High School District.
Food services employees had the opportunity Thursday to talk with Chartwells about any concerns they may have about the change.
For more information on Chartwells, visit www.chartwellsschools.com.