Richmond Public Schools set to overhaul school meals with $ 12.9 million contract

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Cold, prepackaged meals at Richmond Public School are getting a makeover. On Monday, the division’s school board is expected to contract out the service to the tune of $ 12.9 million.

“It’s no surprise to anyone that we continue to face a real shortfall in the quality of the food we provide to our students in Richmond public schools,” said Jonathan Young, of the school board. of Richmond.

This decision comes after complaints from students and parents about what is served within the division. Parents complained to NBC12 last month about it.

“The food was not edible. Meals were sometimes not completely thawed, ”said Emily Kavanaugh, a parent at Richmond Public School.

“They sent me a picture of the school lunch and said, ‘This is what we have for lunch. and I was like “hm, interesting,” said Betsy Milburn, a parent at Richmond Public School.

At the start of the school year, the district decided not to eat hot meals and is serving take-out meals to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in queues. Young estimates that the division wastes $ 30,000 a day on substandard meals which are then thrown away.

“It’s just not adequate and because of it, students are throwing away thousands of dollars in food. Again, I can’t blame them, but it’s really, it’s really unacceptable, ”Young said.

On Monday, the board will vote on finding a third-party supplier to prepare the meals. Young says the third-party vendor should prepare meals offsite every day and bring them to every school building. School staff would then be responsible for warming the items and serving the students.

“We expect that by the end of October, students will once again receive hot meals. So we want to end these prepackaged cold meals, ”Young said.

Another factor at play is the cafeteria staff. Young says they have a hard time hiring people. A cafeteria at a Richmond high school is currently operating with a quarter of its regular staff.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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