Millcreek Schools Cafeteria Jobs to Stay on District Payroll - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Millcreek Schools Cafeteria Jobs to Stay on District Payroll

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The Millcreeek School Board is still wrangling with how to reduce their 4.4 million dollar deficit for next school year. On the board's list of money saving measures: reducing Montessori programs, outsourcing health care, early retirement for some, and taking food service employees off the district payroll.

At Monday's meeting the district decided to keep cafeteria workers on under the district, at least for one more year.

"I'm very happy with it, said Erin Grack, cafeteria manager at Chestnut Hill Elementary. "We're going to stay the same for one more year and we'll have to start doing this all over again in another year, but it's good that we have one more year."

"We'll take another year and look at it, and basically keep things the way they are, but knowing that when we sit down to do our contract with them, we'll have to talk about some positions and cutting hours because it's about the people, the hours, and the Affordable Care Act that we have to pay attention to," said William Hall, superintendent of Millcreek schools.

The district has 81 cafeteria employees, and more than 20 of them attended Monday's meeting.

The board also postponed voting on the future of the Montessori programs, tabling that vote until the next meeting. The deadline for a decision is at the end of April.

Budget Assessment:

Nearly two hours of the meeting was dominated by a stark, audit-style assessment of the district's overall management and financial health by BDO accounting, a third-party company.

A few of the biggest criticism - ineffective finances caused in part by poorly defined job descriptions, complicated manual payroll systems (instead of automated), and not enough budget checking throughout each school year.

"It validated what I was feeling for the last year," Hall said. "We had some bad processes and some issues. I think they hit it on the head when they said we need to add structure, accountability, and discipline to our finances and operations."

BDO sent a preliminary course of action recommendation to the board. The board voted to further solicit audit companies to assess their finances and vote on a plan this May.

Some positive news was presented at the meeting too - figures show a balanced checkbook for the 2013-14 school year.

"It's a big relief. It's still a projection but for the first time, we think we're going to be within budget this year, and that's very good news," Hall said. 

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