Pawtucket schools’ contract with Sodexo in jeopardy

Rhode Island DOE refuses to approve contract, citing district’s failure to follow proper procedures

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Officials from the Rhode Island Department of Education say they are "unable to approve" a new three-year food service contract with city mainstay Sodexo, meaning school officials must abandon the deal or risk losing big reimbursement dollars.

In a letter to school officials, Becky Bessette, administrator of child nutrition programs in the Office of Statewide Efficiencies, said that the Pawtucket School Committee "failed to follow the evaluation process pre-approved by RIDE" when it approved a contract with Sodexo over low-bidder Chartwells at a June 30 meeting.

"Lack of RIDE approval would impact our ability to reimburse Pawtucket for meals served through the school meal programs," wrote Bessette.

The total reimbursement that the Pawtucket School Department could stand to lose is more than $3.67 million, according to Bessette.

The ruling from RIDE appears to serve as an ultimatum for the Pawtucket School Committee: Either reverse course on the contract with Sodexo and sign a contract with Chartwells or risk losing the money.

"The matter is now in the hands of the Pawtucket School Department," said RIDE spokesman Elliot Krieger.

School Committee Chairman Michael Araujo, who said Monday that he "respected the bid process" and originally voted for Chartwells, had not heard about the ruling from RIDE. He told The Breeze that the school board will need to get advice from legal counsel before deciding what to do.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
vegetables with dip foodservice healthy menu

From Mrs. Dash Foodservice.

There was a time when healthy food meant counting calories, omitting carbs, giving up sugar and going fat-free—in other words, it was all about deprivation.

But not anymore. Today’s definition of healthy means an overall focus on nutrition and wellness that doesn’t mean giving up enjoyment. It’s all about balance: good fats, healthy carbs, better sweeteners, wholesome ingredients and satisfying flavor enhancements. It means food that customers can feel good about, at the same time that they’re enjoying the dining experience.

According to...

Industry News & Opinion

Aramark today announced a partnership with celebrity chef and TV personality Cat Cora that will put a new concept from the Top Chef star in Aramark’s North American business-and-industry accounts.

The new fast-casual concept, called Olilo by Cat Cora, promises a healthy, made-your-way menu, according to the global foodservice provider.

“By bringing together Chef Cora's award-winning brand and healthy cooking advocacy and Aramark's commitment to enriching and nourishing the lives of the thousands of consumers we serve every day, we have an opportunity to elevate the on-site...

Industry News & Opinion

Members of Congress and several advocacy groups gathered on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to highlight the potential loss of millions in state funding because of a Child Nutrition Reauthorization block grant introduced last month, and to call upon legislators to squash the bill.

The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 houses a statute that would provide three unannounced pilot states with block grant funding. Participating states would be exempt from federal nutrition regulations and would no longer qualify for the 6-cent reimbursement per lunch garnered by certified...

Ideas and Innovation
broccoli florettes

We’ve reduced food costs by designing menus to utilize cast-offs. Take broccoli, for instance. Use the florets Monday for soup, then Tuesday use the stems for broccoli slaw, and so on. This results in total utilization of the product instead of waste.

FSD Resources