TWIN FALLS • When the new school year starts, the Twin Falls School District will be in charge of school meals at Xavier Charter School.
The school board voted Monday night to grant Xavier’s request and take over food services for the public charter school.
A one-year contract is to begin in September.
When Xavier opened in 2007, it didn’t have food service. The program now is three years old, but students and some staff members were dissatisfied with it, said Debbi Burr, Xavier’s board chairwoman.
Xavier officials started talking this spring about how to improve the service. The Twin Falls district already provides food service to other schools, has years of experience and has done an excellent job, Burr said.
In a May 22 letter to Twin Falls district administrators, Burr and Xavier’s then-administrator Thad Biggers made a proposal.
“Our small volume has hurt our buying power with suppliers and our limited storage space has hampered our attempts to take advantage of seasonal prices and special deals,” the letter said.
The district will receive federal reimbursement for each meal served at Xavier.
Among the charter school’s approximately 640 students, about 380 were eating school lunches at the beginning of last school year.
Numbers slipped to about 300 by the end of the year, Burr said, but she anticipates that number to grow under the new partnership.
“The point is that we want to make sure kids have nutritious meals available,” she said.
A wider variety of food choices will be available to Xavier students, said Susan Henderson, food services supervisor for the district.
Eventually, a breakfast program will be implemented at Xavier. Another option is to offer after-school snacks for students who need them, Henderson said, such as those staying late for tutoring.
The charter school has a kitchen, so food will be prepared on siter.
Xavier already has food service employees, Henderson said, but details haven’t been finalized about how employment will work.
The district has provided school meals at Wings Charter Middle School since 2010 and at St. Edward’s Catholic School since 2012.
“It’s more work, but we also want to make sure kids get fed, too,” Henderson said.
In all, the Twin Falls district serves about 8,000 meals a day.
Smaller schools such as Xavier often have problems with buying power, Henderson said, which is why they ask for help.