SFUSD Board Reverses "No" Vote on School Lunch Contract - Vote Unanimously to Renew Contract
After a 4 to 3 vote of the SFUSD school board terminated the district’s contract with its school lunch provider, the board re-voted at a special meeting and reversed course, agreeing unanimously to renew the contract with Revolution Foods.
On April 23, 2019, the Board of Education declined to renew the district’s contract with Revolution Foods, the provider of school meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in San Francisco public schools since 2013. The contract was set to expire at the end of June.
With summer meal service looming and no back-up plan for providing meals the board agreed to reconsider its decision to terminate the contract at a special meeting on May 7, 2019.
Many students and community members were in attendance and testified as to the importance of maintaining access to school meals. Some, including the SFUSD student delegates to the Board of Education also spoke to the improved quality of meals since the start of Revolution Foods’ contract in 2013. A former head of SFUSD Student Nutrition Services gave a fascinating mini-history lesson on how schools moved away from cooking and serving food (it started with Ronald Reagan). You can hear all the testimony by listening to the audio of the meeting here.
SFUSD staff and Revolution Foods leaders presented information in response to some of the concerns raised by board members, highlighting the efforts that have been made to adapt menus in response to student feedback, provide students with some degree of choice. SFUSD Food Service leadership and staff described efforts that are currently underway to increasingly bring food sourcing and preparation in-house, with a goal to eventually - by 2028- have capacity to cook and serve meals to students district wide.
Board members continued to have reservations about renewing the current contract, citing lack of data on food waste and student perceptions of the food, as well as long timeframe to reach the goal of in-house cooking in 2028. President Cook again noted a lack of urgency around improving food quality and responding to supply issues (some Commissioners have heard from sites that at times schools “run out of food”) and a disappointment with the dialog which he views as coming from a “reductionist scarcity mindset” - in his view, the discussion should not just be about food vs. no food.
In the end, the six board members present voted unanimously to renew the contract. President Cook, Commissioner Collins and Commissioner Lopez changed from “no” to “yes” votes and Commissioner Moliga, who had also voted against the contract was not in attendance.
The SF Examiner published a recap of the meeting. Find it here
Here is our live-tweet #BoardWatch recap!