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DCPS Seeks Food Service Contractor for 2012-2013 School Year

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DCPS Seeks Food Service Contractor for 2012-2013 School Year

High-quality meals for the best price

District of Columbia Public Schools is seeking food service contractors for the 2012-2013 school year to provide high-quality meals while reducing costs, according to a request for proposal (RFP) released this week.

“We have made many great strides with our food service, but we must ensure that everything we do is as cost effective as possible,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “We look forward to reviewing the contract proposals as they come in and working with the food service providers to continue offering high-quality meals for the best price.”

In the past four years, DCPS Food Services has improved the quality of school food by providing appetizing meals made from fresh, locally produced ingredients and increasing students’ access to school meals. 

In 2008, DCPS initially contracted its food service operation to improve meal quality, increase student participation and reduce costs.  A large food service management company was awarded a one-year contract with four option years to provide services to all district schools.

In 2010-2011, DCPS contracted with two vendors for pilot programs for from-scratch and portable meals to improve program performance, reduce costs and boost nutrition. These pilot vendors responded to new, revised solicitations that included some of the strictest nutritional standards in the country and a fixed-fee-per-meal pricing structure.

Since the companies awarded the pilot contracts service only a handful of schools and had comparable mission statements to DCPS, the expectation was that their performance would be a noticeable improvement in meal quality and participation. In school year 2010-2011, DCPS served more than 2 million more meals to students than in 2009-2010.  

“Our focus now is to reduce costs associated with the program. More specifically, I have asked staff to restructure our current contract in an effort to better predict and reduce costs,” Chancellor Henderson said. “The pilot programs we implemented over the past two years are a model that I would like to build upon as we move toward fiscal year 2013.”