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Ava R-1 School Board Votes to Replace OPAA! Food Service With Its Own Employees

                                                                                                                                         by Michael Boyink/

The Ava R-1 School Board held a special meeting on Tuesday, October 27th at 5:30 p.m. The following items were discussed:


The board voted 4-3 to replace OPAA! Food Management with a school-run meal service. Dissenting votes were Bart Ellison, Mark Henry, and Brandi Stanifer.

The vote came after watching a CNBC video covering the history of corporatized school lunch programs in the USA.

Board member Dan Johnson cited the current 50% school lunch participation rate and said the school could do better. 

Board member Deana Parsick recalled her own mother quitting her job in the school kitchen when the school brought in a contractor to make lunches. 

“Sometimes old school is better,” Parsick said of the intent to have the school cook its own food. “We’ll have better control of the meals and how the employees are treated and paid. If we see something that needs to be changed we can change it.” 

The board discussed the desire to hire all of the current OPAA! employees to minimize turnover. 

Dr. Dial reported that all of the kitchen equipment is school-owned. 

The last OPAA! served meal will be the last day of the school semester, before Christmas break.

The school will need to decide if it wants to purchase any remaining food and supplies from OPAA! at that time.

Active Panels Approved

In a 7-0 vote, the board approved spending approximately $85,000 to purchase 45 “active panels”, otherwise known as smart white boards. The new panels are 65” screens that will replace aging smart white boards currently in use in the Ava R-1 classrooms.

The funds to purchase the screens are from the schools Title dollars, available due to CARES monies being used in place of Title dollars.

The board discussed various ways to create a schedule for refreshing technology

Bus Inspections

Dr. Dial reported that all of the school buses had been inspected, with three contractor buses and three school-owned buses needing repairs. All of those necessary repairs have already been completed.

Bus Cameras

Board member Deana Parsick confirmed with Dr. Dial and the school mechanic that, regardless of installation location, the bus cameras were providing adequate coverage of each bus. Dial mention his intention to “get on every bus and make sure the stop-arm camera is doing what it should.”

GCBDA Policy

In a 7-0 vote, the board approved a motion ensuring that a subset of teachers would not lose sick days as a result of  a recent change to the sick day payout policy. 

Language Struck

In a 7-0 vote, the board also approved to strike a paragraph from the school contract that would prevent teachers with less than 10 years of service to be paid for their accumulated unused sick days. 


View the video footage of the meeting on the Douglas County Herald’s YouTube Channel.

Next Meeting

The next regular board meeting will be held on November 19th at 6:30 p.m. in the board of education room.

Meetings are open to the public.