Panama City- As Bay County students prepare to head back to school next week, the private company Chartwells Incorporated is hard at work training their food service employees and preparing schools' cafeterias.
Food service employees will be learning everything from cash handling, sanitation, and customer service, to actual cooking.
The move to hire Charwells Inc. came about after the district had expressed interest more than a year ago in privatizing some of its support services to help recoup millions of dollars in anticipated budget shortfalls.
After months of talks and public hearings both sides finally came to an agreement this summer on a five year contract renewable each year. District officials are very optimistic about the agreement. They said they hope to make up to $1 million each year under the contract. Chartwells said it's also looking forward to the new endeavor.
"This is a great opportunity we think for ourselves and for the district to really show how we can affect the lives of many people in a good way," said Chartwells Incorporated Director of Business Development Christine McGoldrick.
Chartwells officials said they plan to roll out new signage and other equipment at three schools first starting next week. Those are Arnold High, Jinks Middle, and Cedar Grove Elementary. From there they said they hope to have all the schools decked out with Chartwells garb within a month.