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posted: 6/9/2012 7:55 AM

District 95 officials accepting bids from food vendors for the next school year

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By Jennifer Earl

Lake Zurich Unit District 95 may say goodbye to its food service vendor of one year.

Because of financial reasons, officials said, the district may not re-sign a contract with Southwest Foodservice Excellence LLC to be their vendor.

Spokeswoman Jean Malek said the district is currently accepting bids from other food service providers.

"We liked the vendor and the food service manager, but the arrangement did not prove to be as viable financially as we would have liked," Malek said.

Last year, District 95 ended a 30-year relationship with the food service provider Sodexo to sign a $1.7 million one-year contract with Southwest Foodservice Excellence.

In a letter to parents last school year, Southwest Foodservice Excellence explained that changes would be made to the food program to give students healthier options. These changes included cooking from scratch, a free salad bar, eliminating fried food and adding hydration systems or water stations. At least one student said he thinks students weren't happy with those changes.

Andrew Hoffmann, 17, an incoming senior at Lake Zurich High School, said he buys lunch from the cafeteria every day and he noticed the difference.

"I was very disappointed, mainly because of the lack of choices," he said. "It was definitely healthier, but I didn't like it at all."

Malek said the vendor's food quality is not a reason for their possible replacement.

However, she said she did notice a slight decrease in the number of students buying lunch in the district's eight schools.

Malek didn't confirm or deny the district is looking into the option of providing lunches itself by hiring employees.

"We're exploring all of our options at this time," she said.

The bids from vendors are due Tuesday, June 12.

If a new vendor is selected, the board would approve it June 28 at the school board meeting, Malek said.

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