Last July Kansas State University awarded a catering contract for 53
private suites at K-State Football games to the
Manhattan - Ogden School District. At the time the Manhattan Free Press and several businesses stated the contract was
against state law.
The District honored the contract and Wednesday night the Manhattan
School Board heard a report on the outcome. As part
of the Board's discussion members talked about receiving a letter from Bob Limbocker owner of Bockers Two Catering.
The Board did not talk a lot about the letter but everyone understood
it pointed out some problems with the District's
Catering Service. Here is that letter:
TO: Administration/School Board Members
RE: U.S.D. 383 Food Service Policy
As I expressed at the school board meeting in July, we have a major
concern regarding USD. 383 food service policy that
allows for the off-premises catering by a tax-supported entity using taxpayers monies to compete unfairly with private
This leads to (2) areas of concerns that we should like the school board to consider.
The first area is in regards to the contract with KSU for the catering
of the sky-boxes at KSU Stadium. While the contract
raises some questions at this time we will not address those concerns, however, I would be hopeful that the school board
would consider various points in the financial report that may influence their thinking as to the viability of project.
1) What was the original intent for entering into the contract? Raise revenue, reduce overhead, make profit?
2) Are expenditures equal to revenue or is there a substantial profit?
3) Are all expenses being reflected in the financial report, such as:
additional maintenance, insurance, depreciation
replacement costs, start-up expenses, fuel, utilities, payroll taxes, etc. listed on the report?
4) If this was our sole venture would we make a profit, break even, or incur net losses?
5) If profits are being generated how does this affect our use of government subsidies for food and staples?
6) What is the dollar amount of revenue sharing that is to be given
back to KSU, either as dollars or free food and beverage
Our more immediate and pressing concern is that the USD 383 food service
is engaging in off-premises catering to private
business, organizations and individuals that is totally unrelated to servicing school district functions. This activity is increasing
regularly and may continue to expand in scope and size placing further risk on private enterprise or the tax-paying citizens.
Off-premises catering being conducted by USD 383, unrelated to serving
the districts schools, are functions for or to
Fairchild Inn, The Colt House (0007), Justin Hall (0104-0108, Churches (0186) varies organization, (0713-0138, 0045)
and local business for receptions and Christmas parties, for D.P.R.A.-A.I.B-1st Bank - Sonic Drive Ins, Arts Center, either
catered directly to their place of business, Wareham Opera House and Pottorff Hall, contract numbers (0019-0045-0100 -
some events do not have a reference number.)
In relation to the above listed off-premises catering events we raise the same concerns:
1) Unfair competition
2) Use of school district mill levies to be used to make a profit and
to compete directly with the people who are paying taxes
to support this activity.
3) The effect on government subsidies to be sued for profit.
4) The mere question - these are within legal guidelines?
We believe that the administration directive, of seeking ways to increase
revenues, has overstepped the intent of what public
tax dollars are intended for by allowing the school's food service system to engage in off-premises catering that has nothing to
do with the district and unfairly competes with the private sector.
Therefore, we are asking the administration and school board members
to consider adopting a policy that restricts the
school's food system from being able to engage in any activity that results in off-premises catering and the selling of food and
services to private businesses or individuals that is not being used in various schools within the district.
We would like to re-iterate that food prepared for various administrative
and school meetings, along with head-start
programs may be exempt.
Legislation has been enacted that also allows school districts to service
child-care facilities, state institutions, and correctional
services as long as the contracts follow the guidelines according to the law.
In review it is in our sincere hope that you are not in support of finding
it acceptable that USD 383 food service can cater
Christmas Parties for Sears, Sonic Drive Ins, A.I.B., McCalls, and others, wedding receptions, picnic and other events, to
locations other than the school districts facilities.
Thank you for your time and consideration.