SANBORN – The Niagara Wheatfield School Board agreed Wednesday to reduce the working hours of some school kitchen staff in order to help offset a $175,000 deficit in the food service budget.
Despite an attempt by board member Richard Sirianni to delay the decision, the board voted, 5-2, to abolish some food service positions and hours while creating ones that work fewer hours in order to save money on health insurance premiums.
Only full-time employees get 100 percent insurance coverage in Niagara Wheatfield, it was noted.
Sirianni said the move would result in several of the workers being forced to pay $500-700 a month in health insurance premiums instead of $100 a month.
Although he did not disagree with the move, he said the workers “would take a serious hit” on their insurance payments with only a two-week notice.
He wanted the board to delay the move by two months but was joined only by member Amy Deull.
School Superintendent Lynn Fusco explained that the food service program ended up “over $175,000 in the red” at the end of the 2013-14 school year and the board needed to “start getting it back in order.”
Even though she conceded to Sirianni that the adjustment would not make the program whole, the reduction was necessary.
No figures were available on how much the move would save.
She said the advice was consistent with new board member Gina Terbot’s report that the district could be financially liable for any incidents at fundraising activities held by outside groups such as sports boosters or parents association if formal approval had been given.
Still, the superintendent said the board welcomed and encouraged such fundraisers because the money is donated to the district.