Author Topic: by the slice bonanza  (Read 4688 times)

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Online waltertore

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by the slice bonanza
« on: October 11, 2013, 04:47:41 PM »
Today was the homecoming carnival at our school.  What it basically means all school clubs get to set up booths for selling things, face painting, games, etc.   This takes place during our 3 lunch periods.  It also is the only day of the year we are allowed to sell to students during lunchtime.  We are not allowed to normally sell during lunches because we would put the cafeteria out of business.  This makes no sense to me.  Schools are suppose to be for kids training for adulthood right?  Well we would be putting union cafeteria adults out of work so we can only sell our goods to students for 5 minutes each day during the passing period following the last lunch. 

We made about 300 cookies/brownies, coffee cakes, fudge, and 20 pizzas.   I knew the baked goods would sell out but I wasn't sure about the pizzas.  Well, we sold out all 20 pies in 30 minutes at $1 a slice.   This was done during the first lunch so we could have easily sold 60 pies.  The problem is making them all at once and having them ready to go at the first lunch which starts at 10:40.  I have no other adult help so we had to have everything done and set up outside by lunch 1.  We don't have warming boxes or bags so I used our proofing of sorts rack.  It has a plastic zip bag over it and we put a pot of boiled water on the bottom rack with the lid on to keep humidy down.  For our bagels we proof with the lid off.  It took us about 60 minutes to make, grate cheese on top, and box the 20 pies.  Our blodgett ovens can cook 4-18" pies each and we had them loaded.  My one student Paige and a new boy did the toppings.  I tossed and put them in the oven.  Then my new boy Jordan boxed and grated the Parmigiano Regiano cheese on top.   I was proud of my students today.  We earned more than any club and kids were coming up 10 deep all 3 lunches.  We sold out all the baked goods 1/2 way into the last lunch. 

WE went back to our room, cleaned up, and made one last pie for my doctors Friday night poker game.   It was a good day!  Walter
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 07:33:47 PM by waltertore »
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets


Offline Tscarborough

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2013, 10:06:15 PM »
Your school and your community are lucky to have you.

Offline dhorst

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2013, 08:04:17 AM »
Sounds like you guys rocked the house!I love hearing about your students and their successes. It puts a smile on my face and a warm shot of hope in me. Thanks for sharing.
For the love of Aleppo chile, ask and you shall receive.

Online waltertore

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2013, 11:58:12 AM »
thanks guys!  Our pizza is really starting to take off.  We have some NJ natives from my neck of the woods coming in a few for some cheese pies.  I love making pies for people that appreciate them.   The guy we have working on our house siding has ordered 3 that I will bring home with me.  This stuff just keeps picking up everyday. Considering we do no advertising, are in a public high school, the outside doors are all locked and you have to speak on an intercom to the office to get in, we have no direct phone line, and are only open during the school calendar/hours, business is pretty amazing.   If you tried harder to make it a failure you would be hardpressed.  :)Walter
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets

Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2013, 01:07:03 PM »
Way to go Walter.  What a fantastic operation you have there.  Congratulations to you and your students on such a successful day of sales. 

Regards,

TinRoof

Offline communist

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2013, 01:31:24 PM »
Walter, great job!  We need people like you in our school system!   Mark

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2013, 02:08:39 PM »
thanks again!  We just had visitors from Hamilton OH Schools.  They came with the superintendent and after seeing us in operation expressed interest in investigating the possibility to do some sort of scaled down version of what we do.   It was great hearing the superintendent and my principal  sharing all we do.  Now if I can just get square with the treasury dept.  They are behind me but I continue to make too many mistakes with my books each month.  This is an area where my brain is not very bright and never has been with numbers.  Walter
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 02:10:57 PM by waltertore »
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets

Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2013, 02:14:02 PM »
I wonder if there is a local CPA or bookkeeping firm that might be willing to offer some accounting services to your program as a contribution.  I am involved with a nonprofit and we have an accountant that we pay but we also have a couple of accounting financial types on our board of directors who help us as well.  Something to think about.  Your program certainly seems like it is well worth supporting.  Does the school district have someone that could help you on that front? 

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2013, 03:33:55 PM »
Dude, you're gonna end up changing the whole freaking public education system.

(Yeah, Friday at noon sounds splendid. Skinny guy with dark shaved hair, blue cane, and sandals.)

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 05:56:25 PM »
I wonder if there is a local CPA or bookkeeping firm that might be willing to offer some accounting services to your program as a contribution.  I am involved with a nonprofit and we have an accountant that we pay but we also have a couple of accounting financial types on our board of directors who help us as well.  Something to think about.  Your program certainly seems like it is well worth supporting.  Does the school district have someone that could help you on that front?

thanks for that suggestion tinroofrusted.  The thing with schools is I have to do an elaborate accounting routine everyday by the end of the school day.  Unfortunately the school district has no one available to help me with the day to day stuff.   I convinced the district to build my room as a commercial kitchen in the new high school construction.  They went for it and no one had any idea of the day to day stuff that has emerged from our ever increasing income.  Weekly ingredients truck deliveries, fuel, maintaince on the van, licenses, uniforms, towels, and all the other stuff a working bakery/pizzeria incurrs, are present in our program.  Plus the system of accountability the schools use when cash/income is present is anti to how we do our personal and or business finances.   Anyway, I made it through the Sept audit with a handslap and told to better next month.  Hopefully I will catch on to all this stuff sooner than later!  Walter

I will look for you Ryan.
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets


Offline deb415611

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2013, 06:13:48 PM »
Walter -

are the accounting problems something that could be solved or lessened by having someone automate your spreadsheet more?  Possibly build in some formulas that help you check for problems?

Or does the college that you work with have an accounting major?  Maybe you could round up some students to come in and help you with the books.

deb
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 06:15:41 PM by deb415611 »

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2013, 06:34:26 PM »
Walter -

are the accounting problems something that could be solved or lessened by having someone automate your spreadsheet more?  Possibly build in some formulas that help you check for problems?

Or does the college that you work with have an accounting major?  Maybe you could round up some students to come in and help you with the books.

deb

Hi Deb:  Thanks for the good vibes.  I use an excel sheet.  The problems are many fold from my perspective.  For instance if I sell your organization a pizza lunch I can not accept any cash or check.  I have to give you a delivery sheet but no bill, then I send our treasurer an invoice, they mail it to the customer, then the customer pays the treasurer, then the treasurer puts the money in our account.  There are about 6 different areas on a website that the treasurer posts the payment to. I have to then locate it, and put it on my excel sheet.   When I get our weekly delivery I have to fill out  3 forms and interdistrict mail them to the treasurer.  They in turn pay the bill out of my account.  Then they post it to the appropriate area on the website and I enter it on my excell sheet.  This all sounds simple but it may take a couple months for the bills to be paid from customers and a month or so for the treasure to pay any bills on purchases I make.  I also have about a dozen different purchase orders that are specific to what I can spend with each one.  On small sales that are cash I have to have the treasurer for our high school come to my room each afternoon and pick the cash up.  I then can not enter it on my excel sheet until it clears the district billing person and district treasurer.  This can take a few weeks.  Again this stuff is placed on one of the places on the income/bill website that has about 6 catagories.  It gets more complicated and I am too tired to type it all out but what basically happens is there is so much paperwork being generated that I can't keep up with it all while running an operation that is now making over 6,000 handmade items a week, deal with the wackiness of special needs students, and the ever changing bell schedules that are ongoing because our school is a failing one and more testing is required.  This week kids leave at noon and are tested all day and Friday there is no school.  I was also just told I have to go to the wastewater dept with the special ed teachers at our schools for an all day seminar on wasterwater.  Each school has to send a certain amount of teachers to it. It is a crazy law that has to be met.  It is a state law that means nothing to us but we have to be there.   Why the heck do teachers have to know the ins and outs of the waste water production facilities for our town??  I emailed the principal and asked I be excused because we have a lot of orders thursday.  Luckily my kids are not tested this week but still leave at noon which screws me all up with trying to get standing orders filled that are several thousand items per week.  It is like the monthly fire drill that is state law.  The last time a kid died in a school fire in the USA was like 1920.  We sell to Denison Universtiy and they send a couple of students each week to help with deliveries one day and one girl volunteers for a few hours with production on Wed.  Volunteers are great but too unreliable.  Plus teaching them this school accounting system and an ever changing turnover makes it more of headache than it is worth.  I think I am just going to have to conquer my demons around money.  I never have been interested in money. I am driven by what inspires me like running the bakery/pizzeria.  I have always been this way and I guess it is time to get with this accounting thing.  It is so boring that I make mistakes.  I get bored easily with things that don't inspire me and I screw them up.  I had the same experience with my 20 year full time musician experience.  I walked away from big money/fame stuff because it didn't hold my interest.  As a student in public schools I was deemed an idiot and put in classes with juvenille delinquents.  This was pre special education in public schools.  When I am inspired I can move a mountain but when not, can't hardly find the energy/focus to kick over a soda can.   I shall overcome!  Walter

PS: I just read this post and said- this guy must be nuts to do all this crap.  But I dig the challenge of figuring out ways to make quality products with students whose cognitive levels are at the lower elementary levels, finding real jobs for a population that historically is almost 100% unemployed, juggling all the products we make, marketing them, and coming up with new ideas on things.  I hardly ever get overwhelmed when I am inspired. 
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 06:58:49 PM by waltertore »
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets

Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2013, 01:18:10 AM »
Hi Walter,

Well it does sound like there are quite a few hoops for you to jump through. But I also sense that you are ready and willing to jump through them to accomplish your dream.  I have a friend who founded a charity many years ago and she had problems somewhat similar to yours (not quite as much bureaucratic stuff but quite a lot of challenges). She just kept her eye on the kids she was serving and trying to create an environment of excellence for the program, and pretty soon she had enough help to get it all done.  So I think that your attitude will get you through. Be on the lookout for smart people who can help you navigate the bureaucracy.  I think it is great that you are really learning it all yourself because there is just no substitute for that. If you can master it and then pass it off to someone else then you will have the knowledge to guide them and be sure that they are doing things right. 

Hang in there. I think your quest for excellence could really change a lot of things about your school and the system there.  This is the kind of thing our schools need (our whole society, actually).  Keep it up! 

Offline wheelman

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2013, 10:39:39 AM »
rock on Walter!  you are amazing. I agree with Tom, they are so lucky to have you.  by they i mean, the kids, the parents, the school and the community. 
bless you,
bill

Offline deb415611

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2013, 12:16:05 PM »
Wow. that is quite the system that they have.  It seems wrong that you have to wait to enter all of the sales as they get paid for / deposited and not just report as they happen and how they are/will be paid and let someone in accounting keep track of the receivables. 

I think what we need to do is send positive vibes that some retired accountant finds your program is willing to come in and help you out as often as possible. 

 

Online waltertore

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2013, 06:33:51 PM »
Thanks for the support everyone!   I am use to doing everything on my own. I spent an afternoon with Anthony of Una Pizza in SF this summer.   We talked pies and NJ but the majority of our conversation was on the one man show and the inner drive to have to do it that way.   I have never been very happy when working for others and rarely found others that enjoyed working with me.  But I am getting close to 60 and need to reach out more with stuff like this accounting.  I continue to wish that the universe will send me the support and also that I can somehow take this to the private sector.   I would employ disabled people in a small pizzeria/bakery.  I like the idea of the 2 under 1 roof.  That is how pizzerias started here right?  The dough is the common thread between the 2.  That way I could be free of all the public school BS and choose my employees and continue the old school small shop concept I grew up with.   I know for now this is the right place for me but just as I have always felt- just down the road a piece even greater stuff awaits.  Walter
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets

Offline scott123

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2013, 11:03:28 PM »
Walter, you need a programmer, not an accountant.

A good ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) developer could simplify your process tremendously.  Excel will only get you so far when it comes to complexity.  Beyond that, you've got to use databases.  You're basically looking for a tailor made Quicken type of program that caters to your particular workflow.

You mentioned the treasurer putting dollar amounts into 6 different areas of a website.  It sounds like you already have some kind of software in place, it's just that the software isn't designed to suit your particular needs well. You might want to see if you can track down the person that designed the website and see if it can be streamlined. You also might want to look for students with programming experience.  Ideally, you want someone that's comfortable with the PHP programming language, as there are a few open source (free) PHP based erp/crm packages that can be easily customized if someone knows what they're doing.  The trick is to find someone who will work either for free or for pizza.  I don't think your situation would require that much coding- you're outgrowing excel, but not by that much.  This forum might have a PHP programmer that could help.

Also, this is WAY less elegant, but, depending on how the data is entered into your website, you could probably build a macro that will check for when the data is entered and automatically export all 6 areas to an excel spreadsheet. I could help with that.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 11:16:04 PM by scott123 »

Online waltertore

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2013, 06:22:01 AM »
Hi Scott:  I wish we lived within seeing each other in person distance.  I have tried doing some stuff like this via the net and phone but it was way too stressful.  My corespondences with our treasure office are via net and phone and it stresses me to the point of walking out the door.  The Jersey boy in me rears up its nasty in your face head and I  have to really work hard to keep a calm demeanor.  I am much like my students in that I am a hands on, concrete learner.  All the stuff you mentioned is stuff I know nothing about.  The jargon alone is words I have never heard before.  I was born before video games, don't have a cell phone, and only use the computer for work, email, and doing this forum.  I use a computer to record my music and that learning curve almost killed me.  My wife, who is way less computer savy than me, works in the village office running the water dept.  She has offered to help out (balances a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of water bills a month) but the problem is works on a different system.  She knows her one program and never has done excel.  Our treasure dept is old school and are resistant to anything new and coming from me, their biggest problem child, would not be welcomed.  I sort of dug myself a deep hole with them by screwing up things so bad coming out of the gate that I doubt I will ever redeem myself.  I am using volunteers this year via students from Dension.  They are great kids but highly unreliable, not because they are flakes but because of their situation.  This morning I got an email from my 2 volunteers that work today. 1 helps and 1 delivers.  Both have to cancel because fall break starts today and they are heading to their home states.  I don't mean to sound resistant to your suggestions but I think that if I continue to tough it out I will get it good enough to take the heat off me.  Things are really busy on the production front and to try and learn a new system and sell it to a bunch of people that have 0 faith in me(justifiably so) sounds too stressful.  Yesterday the Ohio Dept of Agriculture and the FDA came in for an inspection.  We passed no problem.  On the food front I am 5 stars :)  Walter 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 06:25:00 AM by waltertore »
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets

Offline scott123

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2013, 12:04:53 AM »
Walter, I have a computer program that lets me, from my home, connect to your computer and use it at the same time that you're using it. It's as if I was right there in person, is an excellent training tool and could be a good way of showing me the issues that you're dealing with.  I'm not pressuring you- just throwing out the idea.

As I read through your last post another idea occurred to me.  What about asking the people you work for if they can delegate the accounting responsibilities to someone else?  Your bosses know what you bring to the table in terms of baking knowledge and special needs teaching expertise, right?  How much are they aware of your abilities?  Do they understand how irreplaceable you are? If they fully comprehend everything that you're contributing to the organization, then they should be able to live with the idea that you might not ever become computer savvy and to work around those shortcomings.   They have to know that you'd make at least 10 times the money you're making doing the same thing in the private sector, right?  You're obviously not doing this for the money.  You're doing this because teaching special needs children is so gratifying.  With everything you bring to the table and with the financial sacrifices you're making to do this kind of work, you shouldn't have to suffer through the misery of this accounting garbage- and your bosses should be fully aware of this.

Schools, as you're acutely aware, can be incredibly bureaucratic, and the last thing they probably want to do is to give you special dispensation, but, if they know what's best for them and for the kids, then I'd hope that they'd step up should you decide to ask for it. They're not going to want to hire someone to do the accounting, but I don't think turning over your accounting responsibilities to the treasurer would be the end of the world.  You get your receipts and you mail them in. Done.

There's nothing at all dishonorable in saying "hey, I'm really great at this and that (one of the best), but I'm not so good at this other thing- and might not ever be good at that other thing, so if you want me for what I'm best at, you have to work around what I'm not good at- and accept that fact and give those responsibilities to others."
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 02:45:58 AM by scott123 »

Online waltertore

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Re: by the slice bonanza
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2013, 07:35:30 AM »
Hi Scott:  Thanks so much for all the support!  I will definetly keep you in mind.  Everything you wrote makes total sense to me but the older I get the more I realize not many people think this way.  When I open my own shop and hire a few disabled people as my employees I will be knocking your door down for bookeeping help!  I made it through the Sept audit with less drama than previous months.  I keep putting my own shop wish out to the universe.  I am ready to jump when it arises and if it takes till I retire from teaching that would be fine.  Then I wouldn't need a salary because my pension will be plenty for living on.  A small shop, seating for about 20 max, open kitchen view, one size pie, very few topping choices, some bread, and maybe a very simple 1 meal a day choice a few days a week like lasagna, meatball sandwich, meatloaf.  These are things we could cook in the deck ovens early in the day or the day before and reheat. We would make our own bread for the meatball sandwich.  No alcohol, canned drinks, my wife at the register, and we will run it like I do now - mayberry/old school style.  Thanks!  Walter
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 08:15:43 AM by waltertore »
The Smiling With Hope Bakery- A bakery with a purpose
http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140124/NEWS01/301240031/Bakery-run-by-students-disabilities-earns-pizza-profile

Spontobeat- the spontaneous music concept I have created and how I spontaneously live my life   http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137 200 of my most current songs http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137&content=widgets


 

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