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Students petition to keep school food service staff

Posted at 9:06 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 04:42:45-05

LANSING, Mich. —  Five Potterville food service employees are being laid off due to contract changes with the school district.

The layoff has students, parents, and some school employees upset.

Fox 47 spoke with Potterville High School students, who are so upset and angry with the school's decision, that they have even started a petition to help get the jobs back.

"The names keep growing every hour," said Onika Meyers, a Potterville senior. "I was going through the names who have signed and there have been both middle and high schoolers who have signed."

As of Thursday evening, more than 300 students have signed Onika's online petition to not only get all five food service employees jobs back, but in particular, Ms. Anita's, who has worked at Potterville Public Schools for 20 years.

"She worked the ala carte. She was always there if you needed to talk so she was always the one to lean on," said Meyers.

It's this kind of friendship, smile and welcoming face that some students say they needed to get through the lunch period.

"She's amazing, she's part of the reason why some of the kids stay in the lunchroom because some kids don't feel comfortable going into the lunchroom. They don't feel comfortable with the huge crowds and since she's been there for everybody, shes a huge help to Potterville," said Ayla Weaver, a Potterville junior.

On Tuesday, Potterville Public Schools Board of Education voted to contract with Chartwells for food services for the district. This new contract results in the layoff of Ms. Anita and four other food service employees.

For some Potterville parents, they see this new contract as a good thing. One parent and former district school employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, says the change in school lunches in necessary.

"The main meal would always run out, almost every single day. At least now there will be a company that is professional and will hold whoever is in there accountable."

The students plan on handing the petition to their superintendent when they get more signatures.

Fox 47 reached out to both the superintendent and the Chartwells Food Service.

The Potterville Food Service employees can apply and be considered for available Chartwells positions.

The district says that Potterville Food Service employees can apply and be considered for available Chartwells positions.

The school district has not said when the last day is for current food service employees or when the contract with Chartwell will begin.

They do say the decision to go with a third-party food service contractor was made after several months of consideration.

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