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      Negaunee schools consider privatizing food service

      The Negaunee School Board addressed the idea of privatizing their food services at Monday's meeting. In recent years the program has failed to pay for itself. Earlier in the year, the board accepted bids from private companies to provide breakfast and lunches for Negaunee and Ishpeming schools.

      The only bid was from Chartwell's School Dining Service based in Southfield, Michigan. The 20 employees who make up Negaunee's food service department were concerned about losing their jobs.

      "I was very pleased tonight that the Negaunee School Board is concerned about employees losing their jobs, about bringing in a private contractor we don't know much about in," said Stuart Skauge from the Michigan Education Association. "I don't think we're totally out of the woods on privatization for food service in Negaunee, but we're OK for this coming year."

      As part of this year's budget, the district is planning to transfer $73,000 from the general fund into the lunch fund. Members of the board said they want to give the current employees a chance to prove they can make budget cuts.