Opinion/Letters: Del Mar School District Child Nutrition Committee votes unanimously to recommend lunch vendor Choicelunch

On Wednesday, June 29, the Del Mar Union School District Child Nutrition Committee (CNC) voted to recommend Choicelunch (choicelunch.com) to the district board of trustees to serve as the lunch vendor for the district starting this fall. The 15-member committee, comprised of parents of DMUSD students and alumni, DMUSD staff, and community members was presented with six bids in response to the RFP put out by the district on June 3, 2011. The committee considered a number of factors in its choice of a vendor, including the district’s lack of space for storing large pieces of kitchen equipment and the extent to which the vendors satisfied the parents’ nutritional preferences. At $3.24 per meal (price to district), Choicelunch came in as the lowest priced bidder who fulfilled both the districts’ space constraints and the parents’ healthfulness standards.

Choicelunch is currently serving about 180 schools throughout California, including several public school districts with demographics similar to those of DMUSD. Wednesday’s vote for recommendation was a milestone in the six-month long effort by district parents and staff to improve the quality of DMUSD lunches. The board of trustees will vote on the final selection of the lunch vendor at the special meeting on July 6, 2011.

Choosing a vendor to satisfy parents’ and children’s preferences, and, therefore, increasing participation numbers, benefits the families of the district as well as the fiscal health of the Cafeteria Fund. These preferences were clearly stated by the district community in the February 2011 lunch survey (see http://www.dmusd.org/district/files/openFile.aspx?fileID=11180 for a summary or http://www.dmusd.org/district/files/openFile.aspx?fileID=11179 for full text) and entered the RFP as the eight (8) preferred criteria. The CNC diligently reviewed all the six bids to determine the extent to which each potential lunch vendor planned to fulfill these criteria before voting on its recommendation.

These are clearly trying financial times for the district and the state, and parents’ satisfaction and support of the lunch program is more important than ever. The district, the ad hoc lunch committee, and the CNC have all been working very hard for the last six months to find a vendor who will meet the needs of the community. With the eventual selection of a vendor satisfying the parents’ and children's preferences, along with strong participation in the lunch program, we can have healthy lunches and keep our lunch program self-supporting!

Yana Mohanty

Ocean Air Parent

Chair, DMUSD Child Nutrition Committee

   
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