The Kent (WA) School District is using its central production kitchen to produce sandwiches for a private company. The extra income will allow Kent schools to refrain from raising school lunch prices, says Foodservice Director Dan Johnson.
The one-year contract with iLuvfoods, Inc., a Seattle-based food manufacturer and distributor, will generate an estimated $100,000 for the school district over the next year, or about 10 cents per sandwich prepared. The district will produce up to 3,000 sandwiches a day for iLuvfoods, which sells them to convenience stores, hospitals and other businesses.
In its traditional role, the production facility prepares about 20,000 meals a day for students at 40 schools. That work is usually done by about 1 p.m., leaving time (and idle production capacity) to do the outsource work, says Dan Johnson, director of food and nutrition services for the Kent School District.
"It's a great deal,'" he notes. "This generates additional revenue so we don't have to charge more for the kids' lunches."
The district had previously been contemplating a 15-cent increase to cover increased costs. Lunches currently cost $1.65 for elementary students and $1.90 for secondary students.
Kent's 155 mostly part-time food service workers, members of the Public School Employees union, also benefit from a chance to work extra hours and earn more income. The extra work is voluntary and each worker is paid an equal hourly wage by iLuvfoods, regardless of how much they earn from the district.
Additional benefits, especially for those whose hours boost them from part time to full time, are yet to be negotiated, according to the Union. Workers may not exceed 40 hours a week between working for Kent Schools and iLuvfoods. Either party can terminate the contract with 120 days notice.