What’s the deal with the school store?
That question has been common among students, and the answer has been different every year. The store has never been consistent with its schedule and students never really knew when the store would be open.
Why the inconsistency? Principal Chris Lehmann explained that it has to do with staffing.
“We need parent volunteers. When we have parent volunteers, the school store is open.” Lehmann stated.
This statement suggests there are a shortage of potential volunteers. However, a student in the Journalism class reported that their parent emailed the school a multitude of times volunteering for the school store and trying to sign up. The student explained that no one had gotten back to her mother, which led them to believe that the school was actually interested in keeping the store open.
So what exactly is the process for staffing the store?
In a recent Home and School Association memo, the Home and School included an open call for volunteers for the school store. The section of the memo explained that the school store could be open every day and lunch period if parents started volunteering. Parents must fill out a clearance application and send this to Principal Ann Leanness. Courtney Chobert, the woman who helps run the school store, then schedules the school store date in which a parent can volunteer.
“We are working to have it open more, but it depends on volunteers time availability, it is open only during the 2 lunch periods,” Chobert stated.
The store has also had its share of problems. In the 2017-18 school year, there was a long closure because of a health code violation in the school store. According to Jeremy Spry, the parent who had been volunteering in had been cooking the fried chicken as well as other foods that violated the health codes of the school. But the Home and School Association President Diana Moro explained that the story is deeper than that.
“Last year, the school store was closed due to both financial issues and staffing issues. Since the store opened (which I am working at finding the start date) it has been operated by the Home And School Association. The HSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that raises and spends about $100,000 each year at SLA – covering everything from team uniforms or buses for games for the sports teams to Jeremy Spry’s salary or the cost of “buying back” teachers from the school district if the district cuts the budget,” she explained.
“The goal is for the school store to make about $8,000 per year. That is less than 10% of our budget, and we don’t make a lot of money on what it sold.”
But for this long closure, how were kids supposed to get their favorite snacks and treats? Most students relied on the lunch line, but a small group of students found a different way to feed students in SLA — and SLAMedia discovered it in the course of researching this article.
An anonymous student created a store with a small group of friends and found a way to make a small profit but also fund throwing a party when school ended. The closing of the school store was an opportunity for this small group to make money. They used a popular drug reference to refer to their operation — but requested that name not be used in the article, to make it clear that the products they sold were all legal.
“A group and I started [the locker store] because we wanted to host a party that would be happening when school would end. We tried to keep everything relatively cheap under $1 usually, but it varied due to size and item,” The student stated.
Since the school store reopened, the locker store has closed down operations.
Currently, the school store is running, even on its unusual and unpredictable schedule. There is a need for students to know when the school store will be open.