Columbus, Ohio, schools hunting for partner districts

District hopes to find cost savings is districts partner up to provide meals to students.

March 5—Columbus City (Ohio) Schools leaders will meet with representatives of surburban districts in the next couple weeks to see if cost-savings could be found if area districts partnered in providing meals to students.

Joe Brown, the director of food services for Columbus City Schools, said at a gathering of the disrict's audit committee Thursday evening that the intiative was his idea and he didn't yet know how many districts would participate. The partnership is aimed at districts, not charter schools, he said.

The district's food services division continues to lose about $2 million a year, which Brown attributed to higher labor costs in Columbus' operation than is typical for Ohio districts. Cincinnati schools food operation turns a profit or breaks even each year, but its labor costs are substantially lower, Brown said. Columbus food workers produce more meals per worker-hour, but that doesn't make up the cost disadvantage, Brown said.