Bill Turque, education reporter for The Washington Post, reports in his online column, “D.C. Schools Insider” that schools Chief Operating Officer Anthony Tata is exploring a possible switch from current food provider Chartwells.
Chartwells is the company behind the six-part series I reported here after spending a week in the kitchen of my daughter’s elementary school and finding that the food was anything but the “fresh cooked” variety we’d been led to expect. Tata tells Turque that he read all of our dispatches in “Tales from a D.C. School Kitchen,” apparently with some interest. But according to Turque’s chronology, Tata in late December already had put out a “Request for Information” to food service providers who might be interested in stepping into the D.C. food provider role.
“I am trying to get best possible food service program for the kids in DCPS,” Tata told Turqe. “That may be with Chartwells, or that may be with some competitor.”
Writes Turque: ”The District’s contract with Chartwells is now in the first of a series of option years, and Tata says he is looking for an upgrade. A decision on whether to pursue an RFP (request for proposal) will be made sometime before the end of the school year.”
Chartwells, meanwhile, says it plans to be in the running.
According to the contract between the D.C. Public Schools and Chartwells, the food company was awarded $28 million to provide food for the city’s approximately 40,000 school children beginning in 2008. The contracted amount for the current year was $27.2 million.
As for The Slow Cook, Tata told Turque: ”I think it’s great a parent is super-involved and we are soliciting his input as we go forward with our program changes.”