School Board green lights emergency extension for Sodexo

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MONROE, CT — Board of Education members unanimously agreed to allow Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza to negotiate a one year, emergency extension for Sodexo, the food service provider for Monroe’s public schools.

The school board previously put out a request for proposal and received two bids, but both had errors and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, which regulates the process, told the board it had to disqualify both bids — leaving the district without a food service provider for next fall, according to Chairman David Ferris.

“The state advised us to approve an emergency contract, then bid it next year,” Ferris said Tuesday. “Our feeling was that Sodexo has been our food service provider for the last few years. They know our buildings. They provided the service in the past, so the best solution in this emergency was to grant them the one year emergency contract.”

An executive session was held during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, allowing members to tell Kobza and Finance Director Ronald Bunovsky Jr. the parameters to follow while negotiating the contract.

After the board came out of executive session, Jerry Stevens made a motion to allow Kobza to negotiate with Sodexo and it was seconded by Justin Orlando.

On Tuesday, Kobza said the negotiations will include discussions with Sodexo on the logistics of the service and its offerings.

“We do not budget money for the operation of the food service program,” he said. “The program is funded through the revenue taken in as well as offsets from the National School Lunch Program.”

Last year, when the pandemic caused a shortfall in sales, Sodexo’s executives worked closely with the school district to make up the difference, Ferris recalled.

“Sodexo has worked very well with us in the past, so it was logical, all things considered, to grant them this one year emergency contract,” Ferris said.

Ferris said all food service contracts are one year and a district may extend it for one year four times before the state requires it to go out to bid again. Next year, he said the board will do a full RFP and go through the process to choose a vendor.

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