Pawtucket schools boot Sodexo in favor of Aramark

Chartwells also loses out as school district is hamstrung by new state law.

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Pawtucket School Committee last week rescinded its controversial three-year contract extension with long-time food service provider Sodexo, scrapping its original request for proposals and starting over with the state-approved food service vendor, Aramark.

Committee member Joanne Bonollo made a motion to "reject and rescind all previous (requests for proposals) and to enter into a contract with the state-approved vendor Aramark, subject to acceptable negotiated terms," and the committee approved it on a 5-0 vote.

Some believed the school board would vote to rescind the contract with Sodexo and go with the original low-bidder, Chartwells, but school board members said an obscure new rule prevented them from doing that.

Chairman Michael Araujo explained that school attorneys caught a complex new rule inserted into the state bidding process this year that he says essentially prohibits school departments from accepting a profit with a food service contract unless officials want to risk losing tax-exempt status for bonds. It would have been a "huge gamble to take" to accept the bid from either Chartwells or Sodexo, said Araujo, and it's an issue state education officials should examine further in the future.

Araujo said school officials will do everything possible to protect the Sodexo employees who are being laid off as part of the switch. It wasn't immediately clear how many were being laid off and how many would be rehired as part of the transition to Aramark.

School board member Nicole Nordquist, who was among those who originally voted in June to give the contract to Sodexo, was one of several members who had choice words for representatives from the Rhode Island Department of Education.

Nordquist and others believe RIDE interfered in a process that they were handling just fine, forcing their hand by threatening to take away nearly $4 million in meal

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken

The Animal Welfare Act became a law in 1966.

This year, 52 years later, animal rights activists have disputed a provision to the 2018 farm bill brought by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) called the Protect Interstate Commerce Act that would prohibit states from passing laws regulating “agricultural products,” including farm animals. The amendment would not only prevent states from passing new laws, but it would also remove animal protections already in place. The farm bill failed to get the votes necessary to pass the House of Representatives in May, but the threat of expansive and...

Industry News & Opinion

Beginning this upcoming school year, Palm Springs Unified School District in Palm Springs, Calif., will offer universal free meals , Desert Sun reports .

Through the federal Community Eligibility Provision, PSUSD students will receive breakfast and lunch on school days free of charge.

"Everyone’s going to benefit regardless of their income status," Director of Nutrition Services Stephanie Bruce told Desert Sun. "Every student will have access to a complete meal."

Though students’ families will no longer need to apply for free and reduced-price meals, they will be...

Ideas and Innovation
food waste

With awareness growing about the scope of food waste in America, foodservice operators are ramping up zero-waste efforts—and coming up with more culinary-focused solutions. It’s estimated that 40% of food produced in the United States is wasted, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Although an increase in composting has redirected some of this food waste from landfills to on-site gardens and farms at a number of operations, noncommercial chefs are re-evaluating food scraps for their menu potential.

University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., has a longstanding...

Ideas and Innovation
daisies

Jehangir Mehta, chef-owner of Graffiti Earth in New York City and an avid food waste crusader, created a soup from food scraps that even has its own hashtag: #eatmycompostsoup. There’s no standard recipe for the item, which he also introduced to the dining program at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Instead, the coconut-based soup features vegetable peels, stems and roots left over from the day’s prep and what Mehta calls “cosmetically challenged” vegetables—ingredients that previously may have found their way into the compost bin.

“Using vegetable scraps and ugly produce in...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code