Salida Schools Seeks Full-time Kitchen Staff While Navigating Workforce Shortage   – by Ark Valley Voice Staff

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Salida School District kitchens have faced labor shortage challenges similar to many area restaurants in recent years. This week, staff shortages forced creative measures to continue providing high-quality meals to students and staff. And it’s not just meals that the district will be responsible for.

Schools are required to maintain a minimum student-to-adult ratio in a school building. “People don’t always realize the manpower it takes to keep schools open,” said Salida School District Communications Contact Kimberly LeTourneau.

Image courtesy of Salida School District.

Nutrition Services Manager Andrea Moore, made the change in operations this week to keep kitchens open and maximize available staff. Salida High School’s kitchen has become a command center where meals are prepared in bulk and then distributed to Longfellow Elementary School and The Crest Academy.

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Staff from the district’s transportation team help deliver meals to the other schools and then stay to help serve and clean up. Members of the school board, district administration and the Salida community have also worked as substitutes to support the kitchens.

Although the adjustment provides a reliable temporary solution, it is not a long-term solution. Salida Schools’ cafeterias say they always proudly serve entrees, fresh salad bars and campus-specific menus. Current staffing levels limit the ability to provide that excellent service and minimize the team’s ability to wash reusable utensils and dishes, increasing the need for disposable solutions.

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Despite focused efforts to hire and fill vacant positions in the school district, rising wages in similar workplaces in the community present a significant challenge to retaining kitchen, custodial and other support staff. The Salida School District Collaborative Bargaining Team (CBT) is meeting tomorrow and Friday to continue discussions on salary increases for teachers and staff, including these important secret positions.

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Currently, the district has openings for one kitchen manager and three hourly dietary support staff. To learn more, visit https://salida.ss13.sharpschool.com/about_the_district/employment. Or, to apply for available jobs within the Salida School District, contact Sherri Wyatt, Human Resources, at 719-530-5208 or email [email protected] Salida Schools offers benefits and offers a four-day-a-week schedule.

Salida Schools serves as the second largest restaurant in Chaffee County, after the Buena Vista Correctional Complex. Last school year, 43,016 breakfasts and 98,914 lunches were served.

Featured image: School food service. Photo by Obi – @pixel6propix on Unsplash

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