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Case Study | 14th Largest School District Overcomes Staffing Challenges in their Child Nutrition Program

The Staffing Situation

  • The 14th largest school district in the nation faced a challenge to maintain sufficient staffing for its Child Nutrition Program in 2018.
  • In response, they partnered with Spur Staffing, an education staffing provider, to find qualified Child Nutrition Assistants for the 139 schools that served the 177,000 students in their school district.
  • Spur swiftly implemented a community-based approach to recruit suitable candidates, ensuring that every qualified candidate completed background checks and training programs before placement. 
  • The partnership has resulted in improved fill rates, significant cost savings, and an overall increase in customer satisfaction while ensuring that every student had consistent access to nutritious meals daily.

The Staffing Challenge

The 14th largest school district in the nation was facing an unprecedented staffing challenge in the year 2018. The school district, located on the outskirts of Atlanta, was experiencing significant staffing challenges in their Child Nutrition Program, which was responsible for ensuring that each one of their 177,000 students had consistent access to carefully prepared, nutritious meals daily. The increasing gaps in staffing resulted in inconsistencies and disruptions in the program, increased stress for school administrators and program managers, and rising concerns about the quality of child nutrition services provided to their students.

The Staffing Solution

In response to this critical staffing shortage, the school district made the decision to make a radical switch. Instead of entrusting a global staffing provider to fulfill their staffing needs, they awarded the staffing contract to a specialized, education staffing partner, Spur Staffing. Spur’s objective was to recruit, hire, and train over 300 qualified Child Nutrition Assistants to serve all 139 schools. The Child Nutrition Assistants would become responsible for providing nutritious meals and ensuring a consistent, high-quality food service to every student in the sprawling school district.

In order to achieve their objective and overcome the failures of the previous staffing provider, Spur undertook a community-based approach in recruiting and assessing the most suitable candidates for the job. Instead of searching high and wide for candidates who most likely would not show up for a shift located 30 miles or more from their home, they focused on engaging each individual community served by the school district. This approach, which included hosting recruitment events, partnering with local businesses, and spreading the word through school personnel and community groups, proved to be effective. Within a month, over 240 Cafeteria Nutrition Assistants had completed the thorough vetting process, passed the extensive training process, and were ready to start serving the students in their community. 

The Staffing Impact

Over the past six years, the school district’s partnership with Spur Staffing has enabled them to overcome the staffing shortages that once afflicted their school cafeterias – and at a significantly lower cost to the school district. Prior to Spur, the school district did not have the tools needed to ensure that every cafeteria was adequately staffed and equipped to serve the students depending on them for a nutritious meal. If a Cafeteria Nutrition Assistant was absent, then the school cafeteria would have to find a way to provide nutritious meals for their students without a qualified substitute.

Thanks to Spur’s proprietary staffing software, the school district now has access to real-time staffing data that has enabled them to easily identify staffing vacancies by location and swiftly ensure that every cafeteria is properly staffed and ready to serve. Saving the school district thousands of dollars annually while ensuring that all students have consistent access to high-quality, nutritious meals daily, the switch in staffing providers made in 2018 has resulted in an overall increase in satisfaction and has positively impacted all 177,000 students across 139 schools in Georgia.


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