The purpose of Business Services is to provide the support and infrastructure needed by our schools to carry on the important work of educating the children of our community. Our number one job is to continuously improve the learning environment for all our students. Business Services addresses a wide range of issues. In addition to dealing with legal, contractual, and risk management concerns, below are the major areas that Business Services addresses:
Nutritional Services consists of some seventy-one professionals who serve over two million meals a year to our students. Nutritional Services has made a number of major changes to help improve the quality of meals served to our students and employees. The "California Wellness Program" was implemented on July 2006. We began a "Healthy Choice" line of foods for our ala carte menu at the secondary schools in 2004 and in April 2006 began piloting the "California Fresh Start" initiative during our elementary school breakfast program. In January 2010, Nutritional Services initiated the conversion of styrofoam containers to reusable plastic baskets, which was a cost saving in supplies and trash expenses.
The Transportation Department has the tough job of ensuring our students get to school in a geographically large and diverse district. The Morongo Unified School District covers over 1,300 square miles. To put that into perspective, Washington D.C. covers an area of fewer than 100 square miles. It is no surprise then to learn that our buses put over a million miles a year on the roads while providing a service in excess of two-billion passenger miles. Due to the State budget, the Transportation Department continues to explore cost saving ideas while keeping student safety in mind.
This small department is a real workhorse. They produce over five hundred thousand documents a month ranging from business cards to lesson plans to wall posters to school yearbooks. In 2006, we adopted a district-wide copier-publication solution that has allowed us to offer K-12 state-of-art support in this area of educational support. This department continues to provide an exceptional service to alleviate the burden on the sites.
The Purchasing and Warehousing Department provide the vast range of supplies necessary to provide a quality education to our students. They manage the timely delivery of goods and services to our schools ranging from paper and crayons to computers and school vans. In 2002, the department adopted a "Just-in-Time" inventory management system which, in addition to saving costs, allows for the paperless purchase of needed supplies in a highly effective and efficient manner.
Perhaps the most dynamic department within business services, Information Technology is tasked with providing the necessary support to our administrators and teachers essential to the operation of the district, but more importantly, is responsible for ensuring that our students have access to the twenty-first century technology that is vital for their education. The IT Department continues to find way to enhance productivity with ease, initating cost effective technology and unifying the District.
Fiscal Services provides oversight and full-spectrum accounting management in dealing with a $70,000,000+ operating budget. They provide to the Board of Education and the public as well as various State and Federal agencies detailed and informational reports dealing with all aspects of the District's finances. Fiscal Services also includes a payroll and benefits section responsible for servicing District personnel.
M&O supports twenty-one sites that serve over 9,700 students. This hard working department supervises the areas of Custodial Services, Grounds, and Maintenance. They improve our educational environment in a myriad of tasks ranging from landscaping to building computer labs in our schools. Jobs range from painting to carpentry to welding and locksmithing. They are the people behind the scenes who keep everything up and running.
The Facilities Department oversees structural planning, architectural, and building projects. Since the passing of the Measure "O" School Bond in November 2005, the Facilities Department has been busy developing a $50,000,000+ building plan to improve the educational facilities at all our sites. In 2009, several elementary schools were expanded with new classrooms and/or structures. In 2012, the new Joshua Tree Elementary School construction commenced.