Stanley County Schools might hire an outside firm to handle food service in the district.

When the proposal to hire Thrive Nutrition appeared on the regular June meeting agenda a couple of weeks ago, a motion to approve the contract was withdrawn, pending a presentation on the proposal from the company.

Thrive Nutrition is now scheduled to give a presentation to the board at its year-end meeting Wednesday.

The district's superintendent, Joel Price, told the Capital Journal Tuesday that Thrive Nutrition has a background in managing food service programs across South Dakota. Price said he worked with Thrive when he was with the Faulkton district.

Price came to Stanley County from Faulkton in 2016. He served as superintendent and elementary principal at Faulkton from 2002 to 2016.

The switch to Thrive Nutrition would be expected, at least eventually, to provide a cost savings to the district, but not through a reduction in employees, Price said. The savings would be realized through volume buying. "When they buy things, they buy in larger quantities than any single district could," he said.

If the board decides to use Thrive Nutrition for food service, the district's current food service employees would become employees of Thrive. That's one of the caveats Price said he included in a request for proposals, which he put out to four or five firms. Thrive Nutrition was the only firm to respond with a proposal.

In January, the board accepted the resignation of Nicole Prince – a former school district board member – as food service manager. Price said the duties of food service manager were taken over by Sheila Jones, even though she was not named officially to the post.

Price said there was no correlation between Prince's resignation and the proposal to contract with Thrive Nutrition.

Policy on payment for meals – which the board revised in 2015 to say the district could turn over an unpaid bill over to a collection agency – would remain the board's call, Price told the Capital Journal. That's because the district would continue to handle all the day-to-day operations, including the collection of payment for meals.

The district maintains food service as a separate fund within its budget.


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