×

Mascoma to review case of cafeteria worker



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

WEST CANAAN — The Mascoma Valley Regional School District has ordered an independent review of the “facts and circumstances” surrounding the termination of cafeteria worker Bonnie Kimball, it said in a news release on Wednesday.

The district is also rescinding a demand that Kimball be rehired by Manchester-based vendor Cafe Services “in light of information recently brought forward by a parent.”

Messages left for Interim Superintendent Amanda Isabelle seeking clarification were not returned on Wednesday.

Kimball, who lives in Canaan, told the Valley News she was fired in late March by Cafe Services for allowing a student to have lunch without having any money in his account, and that she told the boy to have his mother replenish the account.

But Cafe Services has maintained that Kimball was terminated for allowing the student to take extra items, including oven fries and a sports drink, without charging him.

Brian Stone, the company’s CEO and president, on Monday issued a statement calling Kimball “dishonest” and saying she hadn’t charged the student’s account for the past three months.

“Now that there is a change in staff, this student’s account shows regular activity,” Stone said in a video posted on YouTube.

Kimball declined to comment when reached on Wednesday. She had previously declined Cafe Services’ job offer.

Both the school district and Cafe Services reiterated that it’s against their policies to refuse lunch to children, regardless of a student’s ability to pay. About 36 percent of students enrolled in the district’s four schools are eligible to receive free or reduced lunch, according to the state Department of Education.

“We have been overwhelmed by a crush of national and international media interest in this incident, but I do not believe we have yet seen a full and complete retelling of the facts,” Isabelle said in the news release. “Therefore, we will compile a thorough report on this investigation, and we will make the findings of the independent investigator public.”

Isabelle also said that so long as Cafe Services remains committed to evaluating its policies, she’s confident the company will be able to fulfill its contract. The School Board voted, 5-1, last week to enter into a new contract with Cafe Services that takes effect this summer.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.