After Golden Guernsey shutdown in January, school districts had to make adjustments at the last minute to ensure the kids had milk at school.
Now, a coalition of 13 area school districts, including Elmbrook School District, will receive milk from Prairie Farms Dairy, the schools announced Wednesday.
The decision was made based on several criteria, including a blind-taste test, price, service, package appearance and offerings of a variety of flavors, package sizes and formulations, according to a news release from the Southeast Wisconsin School Nutrition Cooperative.
Milk consumption decreased by more than 5,000 cartons in Menomonee Falls School District from January 2012 to 2013. The students complained about taste, and preferred juice instead, according to a release from the district.
Falls switched from Golden Guernsey to Kemp's after the processing plant closed. The new contract shifts from Kemp's to Prairie Farms.
“Kids complained about the flavor and to do what's best for kids you need to weigh quality with price,” said Jeff Gross, director of business services for the Menomonee Falls School District. “You always go for the best quality with the most effective price."
Gross added that each district in the co-op pays a proportionate amount based on consumption. In Menomonee Falls, the new contract amounts to an increase of roughly $2,000, which is subsidized by federal, state, and lunch fees.
Area school districts do not fund school lunch and milk programs through local property taxes but the districts do receive federal funding for the programs.
Area school districts had to find other options when Golden Guernsey abruptly closed in early January, without notice to its 100-plus workers who were frustrated following the closing. While OpenGate Capital, a California-based investment firm that owns the company, filed for bankruptcy, an Ohio dairy has offered to purchase Golden Guernsey for $5.5 million.
The company started in 1930 as a farmer-owned cooperative in Milwaukee, and by 1935, Golden Guernsey delivered milk to the homes of 20,000 customers in Wisconsin, according to its website. By 1955 construction began at its current facility at 2101 Delafield St.
Dean Foods was ordered to sell the plant by the Wisconsin Department of Justice in order to settle an antitrust lawsuit because Dean Foods owned about 60 percent of milk processing plants in the state. an investment firm that planned to continue operations of the dairy processing facility.