Schools scramble for milk during Potomac Farms strike
Morgan County Schools rushed to find another milk supplier when Potomac Farms Dairy broke off their contract with little notice because of a drivers’ strike.
There was never a day where students were without milk for their meals, said Child Nutrition Director Kristie Randall. Milk must be served at school meals so they can receive reimbursement from the federal government.
Randall was notified on late Wednesday, October 10 that Potomac Farms would cease delivery by Friday, October 12.
They received milk delivery for four town schools on October 13 and drove to Dairy Maid Dairy in Frederick, Maryland on Tuesday, October 16 to get milk for two schools, she said.
Randall filled in at several schools with milk from Sysco that came on Wednesday, October 17. She could only get the 1% white milk that was shelf-stable and non-refrigerated from the company.
At their October 16 meeting, the Morgan County School Board approved a temporary contract with United Dairy, Inc., effective starting October 18 through August 1, 2013 or until a new bid was advertised.
Randall worked with United Dairy to start milk delivery. She met them in Hancock at 1:40 a.m. on October 18 so they could begin deliveries at 2 a.m. Randall took them around to all of the schools through the night since they were unfamiliar with the area.
Morgan County Schools and other affected counties are working together with RESA 8 for a cooperative bid with a vendor. Potomac Farms Dairy kept its contract with Berkeley County, but dropped Morgan County and other RESA 8 counties.
Superintendent David Banks said at the school board meeting that they may have more bargaining power together as a RESA than alone.
Banks said they were paying more for milk now. They were sorting out whether Potomac Farms could be made to pay the difference between what the schools were previously paying for milk and what they were paying now with the contract violation.
Things were pretty much back to normal with the milk scene, Randall said. She presently had only two instead of three milk deliveries a week at the larger schools. The only other difference was the containers were plastic. United Dairy’s plant’s paper production was currently at maximum.
United Dairy was looking to add more trucks, milk coolers and deliveries. Potomac Farms Dairy is still on strike and allowed them to keep their milk coolers. Their contract with them is now null and void, she said.
United Dairy has been wonderful to work with and stepped up to the plate even though they were short of drivers and trucks, Randall said.
It took only two days to have the milk emergency worked out. They were fortunate to get milk deliveries arranged quickly. Randall was glad they were able to avoid having to pour milk from gallon jugs during meals.
The usual varieties of chocolate and strawberry-flavored fat-free and 1% milk and skim and 1% white milk are available.