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Texas School Performance Review 
Ysleta Independent School District 
Chapter 11
Organization and Staffing
Table of Contents:

A. Organization and Staffing
B. Food Service Operations
C. Information Systems and Management Reports
D. Facilities


YISD's Food and Nutrition Department employs 495 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) who operate 54 kitchen facilities and provide service to 56 schools. The Food Service director reports to the executive director of Auxiliary Services.

Exhibit 11-1 presents the organizational structure of the Food and Nutrition Department.

Exhibit 11-1
YISD Food and Nutrition Department
Organizational Structure
Source: YISD Food and Nutrition Department

Exhibit 11-2 presents a typical campus organizational structure for Food and Nutrition operations at most YISD facilities. Staffing levels range from seven to 16 employees depending on the size of the school's operations.

Exhibit 11-2
YISD Food Service
Campus Organization Structure
Source: YISD Food & Nutrition Department.

Cafeteria managers and assistant managers are responsible for the efficient operation of the food service program at their assigned schools in coordination with the school principals The major cook is responsible for food preparation, inspection of kitchen equipment, and safety and sanitation practices. The cashier II processes free and reduced-price meal applications, handles monetary transactions, and monitors student participation. The helper assumes responsibilities and duties as assigned by the cafeteria manager. YISD's Food and Nutrition Department is in the process of eliminating all minor cook and cashier I positions through attrition. The district's annual turnover rate for Food and Nutrition Department employees is 5.4 percent.


The Food and Nutrition Department has suffered from a lack of consistent management for the past 11 years and, as a result, has experienced poor operating results. The district has had three different Food and Nutrition directors in the past 11 years, with the district going as long as 10 months without a permanent director. This level of turnover in Food Service directors is somewhat uncommon for a public school district of YISD's size. Most recently, the last permanent Food and Nutrition director resigned in January 1998 after being employed for only six months. The director of Auxiliary Services is acting as interim Food and Nutrition director while a new director is sought.

More than 69 percent of the district's students are eligible for free and reduced-priced meals, yet on average only 15.9 percent of them participate in the district's breakfast program and only 50 percent participate in the district's lunch program. Also, while the district's food costs as a percentage of revenue are in line with industry standards, its labor cost as a percentage of revenue exceed suggested industry guidelines (Cost Control Manual for School Food Service Directors) by 16 percent. The combination of inconsistent Food and Nutrition management, low breakfast and lunch participation rates, and relatively high labor rates have caused the district's food service program to operate at a deficit in three of the last four years.

Exhibit 11-3
YISD Food and Nutrition Department
Key Operating Statistics
1996-97 School Year

No. of Schools Served 54
Food Service Average Daily Attendance 96/97 47,384
# of Students Approved for Free/Reduced Priced Meals  
- Free 62.1%
- Reduced 7.7%
- Total 69.3%
Avg. Number of Meals Served Daily  
- Breakfast 7,531
- Lunch 23,710
Avg. Meal Participation Rate  
- Breakfast 15.9%
- Lunch 50.0%
Open/Closed Campuses Open
Expenditure Data  
- Labor cost % 56%
- Food Cost % 38%
- Operating Cost % 5%
- Other % 1%
Total 100%
Source: TEA Child Nutrition Program Division.

Exhibit 11-4 summarizes other key food service program success factors that are identified and discussed in other sections of this chapter, and notes areas where YISD needs improvement.

Exhibit 11-4
YISD Food Service Compared Against Key Success Factors

Success Factor Status
Productivity All schools below industry norms for meals per labor hour (MPLH) by between five and 13 MPLH.
Management and Administrative Staff Managers and field supervisory staff are not held responsible for cafeteria operations.
Management Information Systems and Automation Systems are available at the high school campuses but all other campuses must track information manually.
Quality Control Inadequate for the identification and resolution of recurring quality control problems.
Preventive Maintenance/Work Order System No preventive maintenance schedule in place.
Source: TSPR.

Recommendation 124:

Immediately hire or contract for food service management to implement a program that will operate profitably and meet key success factors.

After hiring or contracting for food service management, YISD's executive director for Auxiliary Services should monitor improvements to its food service operations and management for one year and evaluate both operating statistics and key performance factors. The terms of employment, or contract, should include a set of expectations for improvement and a salary commensurate with the task at hand.

Recruitment should not be limited to existing school district food service managers and could include obtaining proposals for management services from food services management companies.


1. The executive director of Auxiliary Services prepares a tentative list of key performance measures, a job description, and salary plan, and seeks superintendents approval to proceed.
June 1998
2. The executive director of Auxiliary Services conducts an independent search for a director of Food and Nutrition operations.
July 1998
3. The executive director of Auxiliary Services presents various options to the superintendent for management of YISD's Food and Nutrition Department.
July 1999
4. The superintendent makes a recommendation to the board.
August 1998
5. The board evaluates and approves the proposals for food service management.
August 1998
6. The new Food and Nutrition manager assumes position.
August 1998
7. Annually, the board evaluates Food and Nutrition operations. Annually


During the first year of a performance-based food service management contract, YISD should expect to increase revenue through the implementation of best practices in the area of marketing and menu planning. Through staff reductions and the implementation of increased productivity strategies outlined in other recommendations throughout this report, the district also should expect a gradual reduction in labor costs and a corresponding budget surplus.

The estimated budget surpluses each year should enable the district's Food Service program to operate profitably and begin to build its fund balance.


Primary responsibilities for the field supervisor position includes ensuring safe food production, coordinating work schedules, managing inventory across campuses, and evaluating employee performance. Although these represent valuable activities to the district, field supervisors are not empowered or required to make management decisions regarding operations of cafeterias at their assigned schools. For example, the duties and responsibilities of the field supervisor position do not include performing financial analysis of prescribed operational and financial performance measures for school food service operations. If labor costs are too high and are contributing to operating losses at a specific facility, field supervisors currently do not have the responsibility or capability to monitor this situation, nor are they given the authority to effect change.

Additionally, three field supervisors oversee and monitor food service operations at about 18 schools each and the district has one field supervisor position, which is vacant. The span of control for the existing number of field supervisors is too large to provide adequate management and direction to such a large number of individual schools food service operations.

Recommendation 125:

Redefine the duties and responsibilities of the field supervisors so that they are held accountable for cafeteria operations. Fill the vacant field supervisor position.

YISD should hire an additional supervisor to fill the current vacancy. An additional supervisor would reduce the number of schools managed by each supervisor to between 13 and 15. This reduced span of control should increase accountability and direction over food service operations through more focused management at each school.

Furthermore, measurable goals relating to cafeteria performance should be set for each cafeteria manager and supervisor and for the director of the Food and Nutrition Department. Their performance should be monitored by the appropriate supervisors and reflected in employee evaluations.

Field supervisors should conduct monthly and quarterly analyses of financial and operational performance; ensure that schools operate efficiently, and ensure that meals are nutritious and appetizing. Field supervisors should have the authority to make financial, operational, and staffing decisions at their school cafeterias based on operational and management reports.


1. The Food and Nutrition director redefines the field supervisor duties and responsibilities to increase accountability and oversight responsibility for this position. May 1998
2. The Food and Nutrition director contacts the Human Resources Department to advertise the vacant field supervisor position. May 1998
3. The Food and Nutrition director interviews selected successful applicants. June 1998
4. The Food and Nutrition director facilitates the hiring, orientation, and training of the new field supervisor. July 1998
5. The Food and Nutrition director informs all field service supervisors of their new job duties. June 1998
6. The Food and Nutrition director implements the revised field supervisor job duties. August 1998


This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources since the recommended hire is for a position that is already approved and funded.

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