Food preparation agreements with two nearby districts approved by Manchester education officials are expected to bring in up to $100,000 in additional revenues, according to the schools' business administrator.
The agreements state that the Manchester School District will provide lunch at Burlington County Special Services School District and breakfast and dinner services for students at the Vision Quest Center — also in Burlington — from Sept. 1 through June 30, 2012.
"That's going to allow us to generate an additional $75 to $100,000 in additional revenues for our cafeteria," said Manchester schools business administrator Craig Lorentzen.
The meals are prepared through Sodexo, the district's food service provider, which brought the idea to the attention of the administration.
"It was an opportunity for us to partner with Sodexo in a win-win situation," said Superintendent of Schools David Trethaway. "Sodexo is able to provide the food and we're able to provide the base for that. Whenever an opportunity like that comes along to save the district money, or make the district money, we're all for it and it really doesn't impact the district at all."
Lorentzen said that the figures are net profits which take into account the cost of keeping cafeterias open during the summer to prepare meals and the daily travel expenses to Burlington for deliveries.
"We're doing the preparation of the food here, but everything is being shipped down there," Lorentzen said. "It's [the Burlington schools'] responsibility to keep the food hot, cold, whatever they have to do. It's their responsibility to serve the food."
Lorentzen said that the contract is not fixed, but rather is calculated price-per-meal. Students in the Special Services School District will pay $2 per lunch, and students at Vision Quest will pay $3 for breakfast and $3.50 for dinner.
The additional funds can be used to complete repairs and upgrades in the future, the business administrator said.
"There's the potential there for us to make a nice chunk of additional revenue which will allow us to address some of our major equipment needs in the cafeteria," Lorentzen said.
Since the agreement is for Manchester to deliver meals everyday, a pre-packaged meal will have already been provided to the schools on days when the district is closed.
Board president Donald Webster said that Manchester was a good partner for the Burlington schools since they are located in the Pinelands, an area without many neighboring school districts.
A similar arrangement is already in place with Lakehurst, a borough with a school district that does not prepare meals at its elementary school.
"Because they don't have the facilities to prepare their own lunches, Manchester has an agreement to provide them with their school lunches," Lorentzen said.