NAPERVILLE — The price of school lunch for all Naperville School District 203 students will go up 10 cents per meal next school year so the district doesn’t have to tap education funds to meet federal school lunch guidelines.
Along with raising the price of lunch, the School Board on Monday night renewed its contract with Sodexo, agreeing to pay the food service provider $3.5 million a year.
Five of 10 food service companies District 203 contacted bid for the contract to provide lunch in Naperville schools.
While Chartwells School Dining Services presented a lower overall extended bid of $3.45 million, the company failed to meet all the district’s criteria and therefore did not qualify as the lowest qualifying bid. The company did not provide information on qualifications and experience of the management team and references did not respond favorably to their experience with Chartwells, according to a memo from Carole Christensen, District 203 director of business and support services.
Other bidders were Aramark Education K-12 which bid $4 million, Arbor Management Inc. which bid $4.4 million and OrganicLife which bid $3.7 million
The Illinois School Board State Board of Education approved the district’s recommendation that Sodexo was the lowest qualified bidder.
Sodexo’s bid of $2.324 per meal price is below the current contract of $2.3653 per meal.
As required by the federal government’s 2010 Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act, District 203 must ensure that sufficient funds are provided to the food service account for paid lunches.
Each year the state sets the Weighted Average Price (WAP). For 2014-15 the WAP is $2.65, which is the current free reimbursement of $2.93 minus the current paid reimbursement of 28 cents.
If a district pays less the current state WAP requirement, as is the case with District 203, schools must increase their paid lunch prices until the school’s average paid lunch price reaches the WAP rate.
The district has three options to achieve that goal.
The first is to increase prices slowly each year to no more than 2 percent plus the cost of inflation annually (CPI is 2.27 percent this year). This means the price cannot exceed 4.27 percent.
Using this formula, the WAP for District 203 needs to be a minimum of $2.42, and it can be achieved by raising prices $0.10 per meal at each of the school levels.
The second option is to contribute nonfederal funds to the school food service account. Based on the federal formulas, District 203 would have to shift $ 54,076 from the Education Fund to the Cafeteria Fund.
The final option is a combination of price increase and contributions.
If the district would raise prices 5 cents per school level, District 203 would need to contribute an additional $13,519 from the Education fund to the Cafeteria Fund to meet the requirements.
The district is opting to raise lunch prices exclusively.
Even by raising the price of lunches 10 cents for elementary, middle and high school students, District 203 will be comparable to surrounding school districts, according to a poll taken by District 203.
The 10-cent hike would raise District 203’s per meal lunch cost to $2.40 for elementary, $2.45 for middle and $2.50 for high school.
Indian Prairie charges $2.45 for elementary lunches and $2.50 for middle and high school lunches. In Wheaton-Warrenville District 200, all grade levels pay $2.55 per lunch.
While elementary students in St. Charles District 303 pay $2.30 for lunch, the cost is $2.40 for middle school lunch and $2.60 for high school.Tags: Chartwells, Naperville School District 203, school board, school lunch, Sodexo