June 24, 2013
The Chicago Board of Education will vote Wednesday on a new food services contract which will provide 75 million meals annually to all students in District-run schools beginning in School Year 2013-2014 this fall. If approved, the new one-year contract will save Chicago Public Schools (CPS) $12 million in Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) and in subsequent years if the contract’s four, one-year renewal options are exercised.
“We are working to identify savings associated with Central Office operations in order to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible given the historic $1 billion deficit facing CPS, which is being driven by an additional $400 million pension payment,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We will continue to negotiate and renegotiate contracts to get the best services at the best price for taxpayers to help address our deficit and cover this 300 percent increase in our pension payment.”
CEO Byrd-Bennett is recommending to the Board that it award Aramark a new food and milk contract that will combine the services under one vendor, leading to more efficient service, more competitive pricing and savings of $12 million annually for CPS. The new contract will also result in more consistent food and nutrition programs across the district, with all schools now using the same menu and same programs. It also calls for more comprehensive training of lunchroom workers and a more comprehensive nutrition education program, featuring consistent nutrition education materials throughout the District and at every school.
Aramark was awarded the contract after a comprehensive RFP process that included responses from three additional vendors. Each vendor’s proposal was then independently judged and scored by committee after a review of all written proposals and a live presentation from each vendor. Scores were based on each vendor’s ability to deliver the best, most consistent service. Cost was then factored in and the committee recommended Aramark based on its ability to offer CPS and its students the best value for food and milk services.
The new contract runs for the duration of the 2013-14 school year, with four one-year renewal options. As CPS’s new food and milk vendor, Aramark, will be responsible for delivering 75 million meals and 70 million units of milk to all the schools in the District next year. At $97 million, the contract is about $12 million less than CPS’s previous food and milk contracts.
The $12 million in savings CPS will realize comes on top of more than $52 million in recently announced central office spending cuts for FY14 and $600 million in central office cuts over the last two years, as the District examines every item in its budget to eliminate its $1 billion deficit.
The Board will vote on this and other matters during its June meeting, which begins Wednesday at 10:30. This contract requires a simple majority of the six-member Board to pass.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.