SD2 board outsources warehouse services, works on budget, increases meal prices

2012-05-21T23:20:00Z 2013-11-29T23:05:07Z SD2 board outsources warehouse services, works on budget, increases meal pricesBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

It was a busy night for School District 2 trustees.

In a five-hour meeting Monday, the board tackled issues with its warehouse, overhauled its food service contract and took steps to balance its $100 million budget. Witness to it all was Terry Bouck, the board’s new hire for superintendent. He sat up on the dais with the board and next to interim Superintendent Jack Copps.

Bouck is currently superintendent of the Peninsula School District in Gig Harbor, Wash., and is visiting SD2 through Wednesday. The board offered him the job last Thursday.

The warehouse issue drew a large crowd, many of them warehouse employees.

The board voted unanimously Monday night to outsource some of the warehouse operations to local office supply company 360 Office Solutions.

SD2’s warehouse, which carries the district’s office supplies, has been operating in the red for the past seven years, district officials said, and they’re eager to get out of the warehouse business.

Many of the warehouse employees spoke at length at the meeting, arguing that there were problems with the district’s efficiency study of the warehouse and inaccuracies in the bid made by 360 Office Solutions.

Some openly worried about losing their jobs. “If they agree to this tonight, I won’t have a job,” Mike Dilly, the warehouse director, said.

Copps rebuffed some of the criticisms.

“This is a fair consideration,” he said of the bid.

The district would reassign employees before laying anyone off, he said.

Following the warehouse discussion, the board took up its contract with Sodexo, the company that provides SD2 schools with its meals.

It’s a five-year contract, but the board revisits it every year to make adjustments. This year — the third year of the contract — staff recommended to the board that it increase the cost of the meals.

Trustees voted unanimously to increase the price of breakfast by 10 cents and the cost of lunch by 15 cents for the following school year. In elementary schools, that brings the cost of breakfast to $1.25 and lunch to $2.40. In the middle and high schools, breakfast now will be $1.25 and lunch $2.65.

With its budget, the district is looking at a $826,000 deficit. Trustees approved a series of cuts Monday night recommended by staff that would reduce the deficit to $34,000 in the elementary school district. The high school district would be in the black.

The cuts involve spending less to adopt some Common Core Curriculum requirements, trimming roughly $150,000 from the three high schools’ at-risk student programs and adopting new textbooks on a two-year payment plan.

Finally, the board, meeting in executive session, approved a settlement with the family of Cherice Moralez. Moralez, an SD2 student who committed suicide in 2010 two years after she was raped by Stacey Dean Rambold, a teacher at Senior High. She was 16 when she died.

The family had sought $750,000 in the settlement with the school district. Jeff Weldon, attorney for the school district, announced Monday night that the suit was settled with SD2’s insurance company. The amount was kept confidential.

The board agreed to a no-fault agreement with the family and will pay $15,000, the district’s deductible with the insurance company, Weldon said.

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