Food Service Director Updates School Board on His Department

Daniel Prince

Finance report shows surplus of $344,036 so far this year

In other news from Monday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Joey Haney presented the financial report, as Finance Director Bryan Gresham was out sick. Haney stated the district has taken in over $7.3 million in revenue and spent nearly $7 million so far this fiscal year. The district has a surplus at the moment of $344,036.

Food Service Director Jonathan Smoak updated the board on his department, saying it has been a very challenging year. He said supply chain issues has hit the district hard this year, particularly in August and September, with both a shortage of products and a shortage of drivers meaning they never knew when or if they would receive their food and supply shipments. They have had to make changes and substitutions along the way, and Smoak said that at times, they have had to go to wholesale suppliers in the upstate to buy additional things they needed when shipments were delayed. Smoak said a lot of credit goes to the food service managers at each school for keeping things rolling:

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Smoak touted the department’s website that launched last year, www.ucsdeats.com. He said he wants to grow their social media presence, so they will be creating a Facebook page and perhaps utilize other social media to highlight what the department is doing.

He said the department recently bought a number of cases of organically grown sweet potatoes from a place in Roebuck, and the food service department will be preparing them for a true farm-to-school table experience. He said breakfast and lunch participation numbers have steadily increased, and in some cases, they have more participation than before the pandemic.

He said the department is working to replace aging and outdated equipment. The district recently approved some equipment replacement at Buffalo, Monarch, and Union County High School, and that should be delivered and installed by February. He said some equipment in the schools are 35-40 years old and can’t be fixed any more. Replacement priority will go to ovens, steamers, and walk-in refrigeration as his department spends its fund balance, which has accrued more money than the recommended three months of expenses. A new point-of-sale system for the schools will be put in place later in the spring, and training will begin soon for the cafeteria staff. He praised the excellent Thanksgiving meal that was served last Thursday, and he said a similar meal will be served prior to the Christmas holidays, somewhere around December 15.

After an executive session that lasted nearly an hour and 15 minutes, the board voted to approve the personnel report. They also voted to offer an intent to award a bid to Raptor Technologies for a total system cost of $31,460. Superintendent Joey Haney explained this is a district-wide visitor check-in system that will scan the driver’s licenses of visitors that can flag people on the sex offender registry, those who do not have permission to be at the school to pick up a child, and other things. Haney said this is an unfunded mandate by the SC Department of Education, as they are requiring visitor check-in systems in school offices. Haney said the system has a health screening option, where visitors can answer basic questions about their health, such as if they are running a fever, if they have tested positive for COVID, and that sort of thing. Since the system includes the health check, the district is able to purchase the system using ESSER funds from the federal government for COVID relief, rather than having the $31,000 come from the general fund.

Jonathan Smoak praises school food service managers
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