Chicago Schools probes school-lunch deal

Inspector general asked to investigate possible bidding process violations.

June 24—For the second time in two years, Chicago Public Schools' $100 million-a-year food-services operation is being probed for alleged improprieties.

School officials are confirming that they've asked CPS Inspector General James Sullivan to review a recent preliminary decision to dump current food vendor Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meal Systems in favor of a division of Aramark Corp.

Specifically being examined is the role played, if any, by CPS' new director of nutritional support services, Leslie Fowler. Until last July, Ms. Fowler worked for Aramark as a resident district manager in Rochester, N.Y. Then she was hired here to succeed Louise Esaian, who resigned amid reports that she had accepted gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars from officials at Chartwells.

 CPS insiders say Ms. Fowler was supposed to have walled herself off from participating in the bidding process, to which Aramark, Chartwells, Sodexo Group and Preferred Meal Systems responded. The bidding process was supposed to have been run by CPS' procurement unit, not by Ms. Fowler's school-lunch division, with Ms. Fowler having no vote. But Chartwells is complaining that she very much was involved, asking pointed questions of bidders, notifying them of the preliminary decision to go with Aramark and serving as boss to half of the members of the CPS bid-review committee.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Italian food hall chain Eataly is making plans for a 2018 initial public offering in its home country, according to a report this week in Financial Times.

The company plans to list shares on the Italian stock exchange in Milan “as early as next year,” Eataly Executive Chairman Andrea Guerra told Financial Times .

Eataly is eager to expand the presence of its massive Italian food emporiums in the U.S., which have helped spur the growing food hall trend . The company has five locations here, with two in New York City and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Financial...

Industry News & Opinion

Students staffing the foodservice department at Rutgers University will soon get an hourly pay bump, as the New Brunswick, N.J., university is raising its wage for student workers to $11 an hour, philly.com reports.

The increase will go in effect Jan. 1 and will impact 13,000 students.

The fight to raise wages at the school was spearheaded by student group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which is continuing to push the university to increase student wages to $15.

The fight for a $15 wage for student workers has spread at schools throughout the country,...

Industry News & Opinion

After shutting down 265 schools due to ongoing wildfires, the Los Angeles Unified School District kept three schools open on Friday and Saturday to provide meals for students and their families, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At one of the schools, employees and volunteers handed out around 100 meals on Friday and 270 meals on Saturday. The meals included items such as dragonfruit punch, raisins, bananas, sunflower kernels, whole-grain cinnamon graham crackers, sunflower seed butter and fat-free chocolate milk.

Around 80% of students in the district come from low-income...

Sponsored Content
Breakfast chili

From Bush’s Best®.

While decadent plates of French toast and pancakes stacked high will always be breakfast favorites, it’s undeniable that savory breakfast items are on the rise in many foodservice operations. Menu items such as avocado toast and omelets aren’t new, of course, but consumers’ preferences for better-for-you food choices, along with their desire for global flavors, are driving this trend.

According to a recent Technomic Breakfast report, consumer demand for vegetarian ingredients has led to an increase of ingredients like soy, tofu, beans, lentils, seeds,...

FSD Resources