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HomeEducationThe school district will continue food service for private school

The school district will continue food service for private school

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At the March 28, 2023, School Board workshop, Superintendent Stratton asked for direction from the board on the Memorandum of Understanding with the private school For Each 1 Reach 1 (E1R1).  E1R1 had a food services contract with the school district but fell several months behind on payment.  At the previous school board meeting, there was a decision to terminate the contract and possibly file a lawsuit against the private school. Stratton stated that they made substantial payments on what is owed since then and are currently only three months behind.  He said if they were to reinstate the food service, they would need to bring it back to the board for a vote.

School board member Shannon Rodriguez explained that the total to date billed is $38,320.50. She reached out to the school and collected several payments.  Every check she received, she took to Lori Drenth, the Food and Nutrition Services director and she was able to put it back into the food and nutrition fund.  She collected a check yesterday (March 27) for $6457.70. Total payments come to $25,408.10 plus the $6457.70. She said she would be collecting another $6457.70 in one week, and then they will be current.

Rodriguez explained that the August and September 2022 payments were delayed because there was a mix-up with the previous food service provider, the Florida Department of Agriculture.  The school district was not entered into the system as the new food service provider, so the state funds were still being allocated to the Florida Department of Agriculture, and  E1R1 may or may not get reimbursed for those payments.

“I do feel like they have done everything to try and catch up in a short amount of time with all of those funds. I think there is a thing called grace… none of us are perfect, but they are following through at this moment, doing everything they can to get back in good standing. I’m asking the board to give them grace because they have bent over backwards to say they’re sorry, to fix it, to pay all their bills.”

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Rodriguez said she was glad to act as the debt collector because if the school district sued the school, they wouldn’t have come out with anything.

She said the district does need to take responsibility for allowing the private school to fall so far behind on payments.  “We were serving an establishment month after month after month… there comes a point where we have to take accountability for our actions.”

School board member Susan Duval questioned why the private school didn’t pay when the school district asked for the money.

“I don’t know- I can’t answer you on any of it. All I know is it doesn’t take a whole lot besides communication,” Rodriguez said.  She remarked that sometimes sending an email isn’t enough and follow-up is necessary.  She said the school would like the district to continue on as their food service provider next year, and they are prepared to pay on time going forward.

“I’ll make sure I stay on top of that account,” Rodriguez said.  She stated that they know they do not have a second chance.

School board member Johnson recommended the school district continue serving them through the end of this school year, and if they haven’t caught up and paid by July 1st, they shouldn’t renew their contract.

School Board Dennis Alfonso said that they would need to rescind the school board’s directive to terminate the contract with For Each 1 Reach 1 at that evening’s school board meeting as an action item.  The motion to rescind the termination directive was approved 5-0 at that evening’s school board meeting.

Julie B. Maglio
Julie B. Maglio
Julie B. Maglio has experience in art, graphic arts, web design and development. She also has a strong scientific background, co-authoring a scientific paper on modeling the migration and population dynamics of the monarch butterfly, while attending the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute at Cornell University. She holds a B.A. from New College of Florida, majoring in Biology.
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