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Food Service to be Bid Out for Monroe's Public Schools

The Board of Education voted to put out a request for proposals this week.

Students' complaints over the serving sizes and quality of the food in Monroe public school cafeterias influenced a decision to opt out of the contract with Sodexo and put the food services out to bid. On Monday night, the Board of Education solidified that course of action by unanimously agreeing to send out a request for proposals.

Board of Education member Jeff Guttman cautioned against simply going with the lowest bidder.

"I don't want to just look at the lowest bid and sacrifice food quality," Guttman said. "We also have to look at what distributors they're buying from. It all has to be considered. I'd rather pay a little bit more to know my kid isn't only getting a healthy meal, but a quality meal."

Sodexo's current contract would expire in June of 2014.

Sodexo, which blamed USDA guidelines on the maximum amount of meats and grains for 2012-13 for much of the problems, has been known as a good corporate citizen, donating food for the Monroe Rotary Club's golf tournament and supplying free food to the Monroe Senior Center when it was being used as an emergency shelter during Hurricane Sandy for example.

Board of Education member Mark Antinozzi asked fellow board members not to be biased toward Sodexho, should it be one of the companies to respond to the RFP.

A school lunch survey was nearly split down the middle when it came to satisfaction. While some students were satisfied, many others complained about small food portions for menu items like popcorn chicken and of food that is too processed and unhealthy. Some parents said their children told them their cafeteria had run out of food.

Barbara116 February 06, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Can't they get prospective food providers to bring samples of their meals to base the decision on? According to my daughter, even the pizza is gross. She never buys now.
Rich February 07, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Who cares who the suppliers are? The major food services buy from 3 different suppliers with little difference between them. I assume the food is not subsidized and pricing is controlled by the district. If this is the case, and the USDA is dictating portion size there is not much room for any difference by any of the contractors. I have worked for two of the three big companies, and they all have strengths and weaknesses. If you really wanted quality, think about not outsourcing, having a culinary program within the dining services, and give the district the power to buy food from any of the major suppliers based on price and service.
Rich February 07, 2013 at 02:31 AM
Do you believe that the samples would be truly representative? and are you willing to pay a little more for better quality(do you go to Mcdonalds instead of Vazzy's)?
JoAnn Toth February 07, 2013 at 04:25 PM
......then there's always Brown Bagging it!

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