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District 95 To Have New Food Service Provider

Southwest Food Excellence promises to offer healthier choices through an a la carte option.

Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 schools will have a new food service provider for the coming school year.

The District 95 Board agreed Thursday night to terminate a 30-year relationship with Sodexo and instead contract with Southwest Foodservice Excellence LLC for $1.7 million.

“I had trouble making an apples-to-apples comparison here because we are not unhappy with Sodexo,” said Board President Kathy Brown.

District 95 issued a request for proposal seeking an a la carte lunch option. Sodexo's bid included a 10 cent increase per meal from what has been charged and SWFE's bid included a 25 cent increase.

Dave Hookstadt, director of business operations for SWFE, said the 15-cent difference means “better quality and healthier food options and service for the children.”

All food is made fresh daily, and SWFE works with local co-ops and farmers to get locally grown food, he said.

“The higher cost is a perceived better value,” said board member Mike Finn.

SWFE plans to retain existing personnel.

“We understand it’s important to keep the staff,” said Hookstadt.

SWFE has been in business since 2004 and this is the first time it will work with a school district in Illinois. District 95 will be the first school district that has the a la carte option.

“It could potentially be an improvement,” said board Vice President Doug Goldberg.

Kathy Taylor, general manager at Sodexo for District 95, and Ken Heidrich, district manager at Sodexo, both thanked District 95 for its business.

“Thank you for the opportunity to service Lake Zurich for the past 10 years,” said Taylor. “I hope Southwest can deliver what they have proposed.” 

The contract between District 95 and SWFE is for one year.

Special meeting on drug testing

In other business, the board will hold a special committee of the whole meeting at 6:15 p.m. July 7 in the Lake Zurich High School library to discuss random drug testing for students.

The meeting is open to the public and there will be a public forum, allowing anyone to speak on the topic for up to five minutes.

The board will not be voting at that evening.

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