Invite Aramark Back for Another Three Years; It’s Better for Our Kids

The mayor’s intrusion into the world of the public schools at first blush appeared to make good sense.

Let’s give the kids better food than they eat everyday, the mayor let everyone know last week at a public hearing.

The 85 or so longtime devoted cafeteria employees felt that something was up with the intrusion of the mayor into food service in the public schools.

After all, school kids are eating fresh fruits, wheat bread, lower sodium ham and cheese, in fact, nearly every item served up to the public school children of Everett today includes the kind of nutrients that are good for the body.

The mayor’s desire to undo the system 25 years in the making to remake it at a much higher cost makes no economic sense, especially during a turbulent economic period when the city finds itself facing a difficult year and with not much extra money in the city treasury.

For the past 25 years, cafeteria employees – a tightly knit hard working, smart working family – perfected the breakfast and lunch system that now provides for about 14,000 meals a day.

The mayor’s proposal to create a new request for proposal (RFP) because the Aramark contract is up essentially throws away at minimum about $1.3 million of profits that are left over every year since this program began many years ago.

What the mayor is proposing, and what the School Committee appears to be readying itself to do, is to accept the mayor’s reasoning and to get rid of Aramark in return for a new company that will cost the city well over $1.5 million a year the city must come up with while throwing away the Aramark savings of $1.3 million a year.

How does anyone in their right mind make such a trade?

The School Committee needs to show some spine in this post Frederick Foresteire era.

Someone on the School Committee supported by four or five votes needs to stand up and to suggest quite rightly that Aramark be invited back to sign a contract for another 3 years.

Forget about hiring a consultant to show the School Committee how to word the new RFP as suggested Monday night by School Committeeman Frank Parker.

Mr. Parker isn’t ridiculous but his suggestion is.

Maria Davis’ eloquence(she is the Aramark manager for two decades) before the School Committee Monday night in front of her troops (the cafeteria employees) was over the top.

But no one was listening, except for School Committeewoman Millie Cardillo who invited her to speak to make her case for keeping Aramark.

Mrs. Davis is about as hip as it gets when it comes to serving 14,000 meals a day in a short time frame with healthy products and putting into the bank for the city $1.3 million yearly.

She was sensible, her mind rooted in asking everyone to listen to her, and then she urged everyone to do what is right.

In this instance, the School Committee needs to reject this RFP routine set up by the mayor and to show some spine.

Stand for Aramark for this is the right thing to do – not just food wise but money wise.

To do otherwise with a new vendor that will cost several million more from year to year is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken is the catch all phrase to use describing what ought to be done in this situation.

The School Committee should be ashamed of itself if it goes along with the mayor’s skewered reasoning.

The School Committee needs to take control of this situation and show the mayor who the boss is.

The membership must also show the voters of the city they understand what it is to throw away a program saving $1.3 million yearly and to trade it in for a much more costly program with no real benefits.

We can assure the School Committee members that the mayor will back down from a show of force.

Besides, its the right thing to do.

Good food at lower cost is better than good food at a much higher cost for the city’s public school children.

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