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Crestwood and Ravenna School Districts to Share Food Service Operations

MANTUA, Ohio (May 23, 2011) – The Boards of Education for both Crestwood Local Schools and Ravenna School District approved resolutions today to share food service operations beginning July 1, 2011. The agreement between the two districts is potentially the first shared services agreements in Northeast Ohio for public school districts. 

As approved by the boards, Jennifer Bujak-Hirsch of Crestwood Local Schools will continue to oversee food service operations for Crestwood Local Schools while also assuming food service responsibilities at Ravenna. Hirsch’s responsibilities will include: staff hiring and evaluation, ordering, invoicing, concession stands, overseeing free and reduced lunch programs, and attending mandatory conferences. Each district will save approximately $20,000 per year under the agreement.
“This agreement really is a win-win for both districts,” said Crestwood Superintendent Joe Iacano. “Jennifer has done a wonderful job for Crestwood students, and I’m excited for her to take the next step in her professional development and implement this very innovative agreement.”

Discussions between the two districts to share food service operations began after the announcement that Ravenna’s current director of student nutrition, Linda Grant, would be retiring after 30 years of service.

“For 30 years, Linda has been respected both personally and professionally at Ravenna Schools,” said Bill Wisniewski, director of business operations, Ravenna School District. “She has been a tremendous help in ensuring this plan is successful and has even made herself available to help after she’s retired.”

The proximity of the two school districts was one of many factors the two districts identified when agreeing to this position, said Gregg Reink, director of administrative services, Crestwood Local Schools. Reink and Wisniewski will also continue to work together as the program continues to develop over the summer months.

“Flexibility and ongoing dialogue between the two school districts is essential for this to be a success,” said Dr. Tim Calfee, superintendent, Ravenna School District. “I have been excited about this opportunity ever since Mr. Iacano discussed it as a possibility. I applaud both boards of education for being leaders in public service.”

Bujak-Hirsch recently became a certified school nutrition specialist, one of only 1,100 nationwide and the first in Portage County. In addition to her experience at Crestwood, Hirsch has worked in food service management for Sea World Ohio, Six Flags Worlds of Adventure and the Akron Zoological Park. She is also a member of the National School Nutrition Association and the Ohio Nutrition Council.    

“I am just excited about the possibilities to bring this creative and innovative idea to the public sector,” Bujak-Hirsch said. “I know my experience in the private sector will help me implement a program that benefits both districts and the students and staff at Crestwood and Ravenna.”

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