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Enhancements to the high school food service program and an $85,000 leap in guaranteed return has cinched Chartwells's continued assignment as Branford Public Schools (BPS) food service provider.
The national educational dining service company serves K-12 school districts, independent schools, and universities.
On May 21, the Board of Education (BOE) voted to award Chartwells's Branford-based food service group a new, three-year contract with a one year renewal by unanimous vote of the Board of Education (BOE) on May 21. The new contract includes Chartwells's commitment to serve Boar's Head products and install a new deli service line at Branford High School (BHS). Chartwells will also provide a $1,500 scholarship to a BHS student as part of the new contract, and continue to work with an advisory board of parents, teachers, and students.
Additionally, Chartwells is prepared to be the provider of summer lunches for students in need, up to and including age 18, at BHS and Tisko through the independent non-profit End Hunger CT initiative, if the district's application for a grant is successful. The application was made last week to the state, said Superintendent of Schools Hamlet Hernandez.
While a total of five vendors showed interest in bidding on the contract, only Chartwells responded with a formal Request for Proposal (RFP), said Superintendent of Schools Hamlet Hernandez. The BOE Personnel and Finance Committee reviewed the RFP and discussions leading to the new contract.
Hernandez explained the significant increase in guaranteed return, which is "commonly low" in such contracts, was negotiated as a good business practice on behalf of the BOE and agreed upon as a show of confidence from Chartwells, which is committed to continuing to enhance food service in the district.
"I like to think that we set the appropriate conditions going into those discussions, and we were able to get a result that is very, very good for our students and the school system," said Hernandez.
The contract will increase the guaranteed return (losses covered by the vendor) threshold from about $15,000 currently to a little more than $100,000. Hernandez also complimented the efforts of Chartwells District Executive Chef and BHS Head Chef Julio Montes, who is working to bring creative food choices that will appeal to students, especially at the high school.
"At the high school, the reality is that our kids really are providing us some feedback. The food service manager now, Julio, is a very, very engaging [and] very charismatic individual who really loves his job and is really all about customer satisfaction. His customers, he says it all the time, are the students," said Hernandez, adding, "Are we there yet, where we would like to be? Probably not, but I feel confident we're moving in the right direction with his leadership and this contract."