CPS Secures Nearly $1.6 Million In Savings For Food And Milk Services In SY 2012-2013 

Extensions ensure continuation of service while district launches competitive bidding process


May 21, 2012



Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced one-year extensions of existing contracts with food service vendors Chartwells-Thompson (Chartwells) and C&M JV1 Milk to ensure seamless continuation of quality food and milk service for CPS students and secure substantial savings. The one-year contract with C&M JV1 Milk includes savings of approximately $750,000, while the contract with Chartwells includes savings of over $830,000, as well as key provisions to benefit CPS students and ensure ethical safeguards. The current Chartwells contract expires on June 18 and the C&M JV1 Milk expires on June 20. Both extensions are subject to Board approval this Wednesday at the monthly Board of Education meeting.


Approximately 74 million units of milk and 32 million lunches are provided annually by C&M JV1 Milk and Chartwells, respectively. Renewing these agreements with current vendors guarantee CPS students will continue to receive quality milk and food service without interruption next school year. A new food service company would require at least six months to build capacity to provide efficient delivery of food and milk in a district as large as CPS. Over the next year, CPS will launch a rigorous competitive bidding process and conduct a strategic review of its entire approach to sourcing food service contracts to further decrease costs and increase quality of service. The CPS Procurement Office is also working on new processes to expand competition in the RFP process, as lack of competition, particularly for milk service has previously limited vendor options for CPS.


”We’ve ended the status quo way of doing business at CPS, which led to wasteful spending and unethical practices," said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “Every vendor in CPS is on alert as our team continues to scour every contract to identify additional efficiencies and cost savings in order to redirect more funds to our classrooms and students.”

This re-negotiated C&M JV1 Milk contract secured approximately $750,000 in savings on the price of milk next fiscal year by re-negotiating a one-year contract that saves the district one penny per unit of milk and ensures CPS’ pricing is aligned with surrounding districts.


The extended contract with Chartwells demonstrates a new approach emerging from the CPS Procurement Office that will ensure each contract is negotiated to maximize benefit to provide both students and taxpayers. The one-year contract will provide the district significant savings, expand student access to college and career readiness programming and apply rigorous new ethical standards. Details negotiated by the CPS Procurement Team include:


  • More than $830,000 in contract savings: Despite increases in food service costs, CPS negotiated significant savings that will be reinvested in our classrooms to boost student achievement.
  • Ensuring transparency and high ethical standards: Ethics training will be provided to approximately 3,800 CPS and vendor employees.
  • Intern/Externship Programs: Intern and externship opportunities for over 80 students, including orientation programs and mentors for each student.
  • Scholarship program: Twelve $5,000 scholarships to students graduating from career academies who plan to continue their education in hospitality or culinary arts.
  • Cafeteria Equipment Repairs: Commitment of over $100,000 in repairs for CPS kitchen equipment.
  • Engaging Chicagos culinary community to better support CPS schools
    • Work with Chartwells chefs to adopt CPS schools so that they can assist with culinary aspects of the day to day operation. This could include training for school dining staff and education for students at the adopted school.
    • Expand the chef mentor program component of Cooking Up Change Chicago, by including chefs from Chartwells operations.
    • Engage high-profile Chicagoland chefs (e.g., This school year Rachael Ray's Yum-o! organization participated) to create special recipes that will be included on menus at CPS schools.
  • Event Donations: Commit $90,000 in donations for student and staff events.


“We are very pleased that our contract has been renewed, and we’re focused on adding value to the Chicago community as a true partner,” said Keith Cullinan, President of Chartwells School Dining Services. “Our number one priority will continue to be bringing innovative programs, culinary and business expertise and not to mention nutritious school meals to the over 400,000 CPS students we serve in schools every day.”


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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