Lockport City School District gets new food service provider
For more than 20 years, the Lockport City School District has contracted with Sodexo Operations, LLC. to provide their food service needs.
Superintendent Michelle Bradley said this year, due to changes by President Barack Obama, and the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, schools have to meet new healthy nutrition standards in the meals they serve.
When the bid process came back, Aramark Education was the lowest bid, by a difference of $.04 cents per meal.
Aramark bid the cost of a meal at $1.82 and Sodexo bid $1.86.
Even though board members expressed their opposition with switching, Trustee Thomas Fiegl said they did not have a choice.
“Our hands are tied,” he said. “We’re almost forced to take it.”
Because of New York state regulations, even if it is a matter of pennies, the district must go with the lowest bid, unless the lowest bidder is found to be unqualified.
The contract with Aramark Education is for one year, with the option to extend it for an additional four years.
“We’re going to move forward and make the best of it,” said Trustee Jon Williams.
He said the board could revisit the contract and their decision in a year.
“They’re not just a company,” said Cynthia Kraatz, who was the representative for the Sodexo employees in attendance. “They are a part of the community. They’re invested in this district. Sometimes pennies do not make a better food service company.”
The board announced that Aramak has agreed to allow current Sodexo employees, wishing to stay within the district, the opportunity to fill out an application and be given priority during the hiring process.
Aramark has also agreed to maintain the current wage and benefit package Sodexo employees are receiving.
“We will work very hard to keep them a part of the community,” said Bradley.
She said she is hopeful they will be able to keep all current Sodexo employees and have a smooth transition.
There are approximately 50 employed through Sodexo working in the district.