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Money Saving Continues to Be a School District Focus

At the April 9 Mendon Upton Regional School Committee Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Maruszczak presented updated information on the new Food Service Point of Sale (POS) System he is recommending for the district. Maruszczak said that they received three bids from companies that provide this POS System for school cafeterias. Maruszczak commented that switching to this system would be a "win-win" for parents and for the district. "It would be very convenient for our parents to pay for lunch on-line but also to be able to monitor their children's nutritional intake," he said. Maruszczak also said that the system would help with the new, "strict" regulations on nutritional reporting required of all school districts.

Maruszczak said that the three bids they received were "all relatively close" but is recommending awarding the contract to Nutikids, a company that had lower transaction fees and is "most frequently used throughout the Commonwealth," he said. The cost for the system would be $22,615 for the first year plus "up-front" costs. Maruszczak recommended that they go forward with this new system using money available in the snow removal and sanding budget lines. He told the Committee that the goal would be full implementation by the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.

Upton resident Chris Russo asked the Superintendent if they have looked into outsourcing food services, and mentioned that he asked the same at the last School Committee Meeting. "I am not in favor of getting rid of the people who run the lunch program, but would there be a savings to outsource the lunch program," he asked. "Once you spend the money (on the new POS System), you are at the point of no return," said Russo. "It is worth looking into before you make this investment." Maruszczak said that he would look into his request, "run some numbers," and report back at a future meeting.

Business Manager Jay Byer gave a presentation on FY11 and FY12 Cost Saving measures as well as the bidding process for the district. "We are constantly looking for the best deal and for someone to give us the best price," said Byer. Maruszczak told the committee "I would like to publically commend [Byer] for his hard work; he is a watchdog over our budget." Committee Member Phil De Zutter asked Maruszczak what items they plan on looking at next year for savings opportunities. Maruszczak commented that they are "not done with energy," as a potential area of future savings, as well as trash services and paper recycling.

Miscoe Hill Principal Ann Meyer informed the Committee that they received 11 bids for the roof replacement, and that that were recommending awarding the contract to Greenwood Industries, Inc. for the amount of $1,492,000. Meyer said that the quote was $800,000 less than the estimate, and although money does not come back to the district, they will be able to use it on unforeseen repairs once they begin. Meyer reiterated that timing is important for the replacement, and they hope to begin on June 1.

Nipmuc High School Principal John Clements received the Committee's approval for a field trip to Argentina from April 11-20, 2013. Clements called the trip "a great balance of cultural experiences." The cost of the trip is $3,751. Clements and Maruszczak also informed the Committee that they have been notified by the state that the Nipmuc re-accreditation will be postponed from 2014 until 2015 due to overbooking. Maruszczak said he was pleased as "it gives our staff one extra year to get ready for this important process."

Announcements were made that the next Multiboard meeting will be postponed until June, and that the next School Committee Meeting that was previously scheduled for April 30 will now be held on April 23.


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