Roanoke School Board promises to scrutinize food outsourcing

Source: Sara Gregory, Roanoke Times, January 12, 2016

Roanoke School Board members promised to closely watch how Sodexo performs following their unanimous vote to turn over operation of the district’s breakfast and lunch program to the company. … With the vote, the board affirmed the recommendation of Roanoke Superintendent Rita Bishop and is set to become the 11th school district in Virginia to outsource food services. Per a draft of the contract, SodexoMAGIC will begin serving meals to students starting in June. The company is a corporate partnership between Sodexo and Magic Johnson Enterprises. … From the beginning of the negotiation process, which began last summer after the board gave its approval, the district demanded Sodexo put in place safeguards for current employees and local vendors, Barnett said. … The contract does not address the 82 cafeteria workers employed through Elwood Staffing, which has managed some food service jobs since 2012-13 at a cost of around $100,000 per month. Barnett said that the district wasn’t in a position to negotiate assurances for those positions because they are employed by Elwood and not Roanoke schools but that he suspects some would be hired by Sodexo.

Related:

Roanoke City Public Schools to vote on outsourcing contract Tuesday night
Source: Amanda Kenney, WDBJ, January 11, 2016

Tuesday night the Roanoke City School Board will vote on a contract that will outsource food services to Sodexo. … Tuesday night the Roanoke City School board will vote on a contract that will outsource food services to a company called Sodexo, which doesn’t guarantee that Roanoke Fruit and Produce Company will supply the district. …

Roanoke Education Association opposes school board’s plan to privatize food services
Source: WSLS, January 8, 2016

The Roanoke Education Association has come out against Roanoke City Schools’ interest in hiring Sodexo for its food services. The district has been in talks with the company to provide food and nutritional services for students. The R.E.A. is speaking out against the idea, saying there is no reason for the school board to fire the current food service employees, and that the public service should not be privatized. The R.E.A. also says the move would sever ties with local vendors, and decrease the quality of nutritional services for the children.

Roanoke schools to vote on whether to outsource food services to Sodexo
Source: Sara Gregory, Roanoke Times, January 7, 2016

Under the terms of the contract, Sodexo would manage the school district’s food services program, including its current employees, for the next two years with options to renew. The food services program operates outside of the district’s normal operating budget and is expected to be self-sufficient, funded primarily through payments and reimbursements for meals sold. In the first year of the contract, Sodexo promises Roanoke schools a surplus of $483,927 after normal expenses and Sodexo’s fees, which come to 23 cents per meal in administrative and management fees. … The contract doesn’t require that Sodexo hire the 86 cafeteria workers who are staffed through Elwood Staffing. Roanoke outsourced some food services jobs starting in 2012-13 to Elwood and pays the company about $100,000 per month, according to a report given to the school board last month. When it comes to local vendors, the contract says Sodexo must use them to purchase food and supplies “when practical and in the best interest of the students.” Any purchases with non-local vendors that exceed $5,000 must be reviewed by the district, but the contract says the district cannot require Sodexo to use vendors the company hasn’t approved.