by Olivia Lueckemeyer
Business manager recommends reinstatement of school nutrition program director
The job of a school nutrition program director in the RE1J district is a big one, business manager Stephanie Juneau explained on April 25 in her recommendation to the board to reinstate the position. Over the past two years, with the help of kitchen managers and interns, Juneau has taken on the responsibilities of the position; however the system is no longer sustainable, as the obligations of the job have increased. Juneau suggested that for the upcoming school year, the board reinstate the position, which she took on in 2014 in order to gain a better understanding of the position she was managing.
Responsibilities of the school nutrition program director include overseeing four kitchens, menu planning, ordering, interfacing with parents, handling paperwork, and, perhaps most important, managing free and reduced meal applications. As of now, the federal government allocates $200,000 to the district to reimburse for free and reduced meals. Having someone who understands the significance of this funding and therefore works to keep it at its current level is crucial for the district, Juneau explained. The recommendation was not up for a vote, but Juneau asked for consensus from the board that she should move forward with posting the position. The board plans to act on the motion at an upcoming meeting.
Health insurance committee opts to stick with current plan
Several different options were considered by the school district’s health insurance committee in deciding whether or not RE1J should continue offering its employees a partially self-funded health insurance plan. The district decided to evaluate its current offering when, according to business manager Stephanie Juneau, some employees expressed dissatisfaction with unaffordable family and spouse rates. Alternative options, such as joining a local insurance pool or not offering insurance altogether and instead paying a fine, were found early on to be unfeasible. After meeting with different entities to consider other options, such as offering a fully insured plan, ultimately it was decided that the district should continue offering its current plan.
Juneau said low monthly premiums are made possible by the savings realized during low claim years. This year has experienced especially low claims, which positively affects the district’s health reserve fund. In poor claiming years, the district can draw from this account to keep premiums consistent. The health reserve fund currently sits at $1.3 million.