The Carson City school board renewed its agreement with food service management consultant Chartwells for the 2022-23 school year at an administrative fee not to exceed $55,030 and a management fee not to exceed .08809 cents per meal.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires districts to submit a revised agreement with their food service management companies to continue on to the following year. CCSD is now entering its third of a maximum five-year contract with Chartwells after a committee made the selection through a request for proposal process in 2020 and ultimately moving to a cost-reimbursable agreement in which the district pays all the costs, including food and labor, for services.
The June 26 approval reflects a fortunate, although likely temporary assistance from the state of Nevada with its offer to provide school meals at zero cost to school districts this coming year. The school district
The state has approved free school meals for the 2022-23 year by providing $75 million for the National School Lunch Program, as approved by the Interim Finance Committee on June 21. The funds, apportioned by the American Rescue Plan Act, will offset costs for the Carson City School District and potentially provide a surplus in its fund that Superintendent and acting fiscal services director Andrew Feuling said it will never have experienced before.
The issue also impacts the contract’s original “potential exceptions” language according to Chartwells, which has not had a normal year with CCSD since it joined as a consultant in 2020.
“One of the hopes was to expand the (nutrition) program at Carson High School and, as my son knows all too well who attends there, they have limited options because they don’t have enough staff to run all the stations they want to run, which is part of the RFP plan they submitted to us,” Feuling said.
According to the agreement, the Breakfast in the Classroom program will continue at all elementary schools, student enrollment will be maintained at least at 7,500 and annual serving days for students will total at least 176 and the district’s labor costs will not exceed $1,816,732, among others.
Trustee Stacie Wilke-McCulloch asked in the future to move the approval of the contract a few months before the end of the fiscal year in case the board needs to decide to leave the RFP with the food vendor.
Trustee Mike Walker asked the board and community to consider more than the financial aspect in the vote.
“Even though this is a financial consideration and discussion, of course, this is a really important program, and this opportunity this state is giving our students is super beneficial,” Walker said. “The price of food, the amounts of poverty that are going on around our community – there are students who come to school needing meals. I just want to make sure we are looking at human side of that because, yes, there is a price tag on that. But if that 90 cents is feeding a kid who doesn’t have food at home, I think that’s worthwhile.”
The board approved the agreement 6-0, with Trustee Joe Cacioppo absent.