A new catering service is coming to the Elko School District | Government and politics

ADELLA HARDING Elko Daily Correspondent

ELKO – Southwest Foodservice Excellence, known as SFE, has been awarded a five-year contract to provide foodservice to the Elko County School District after scoring higher than current supplier, Chartwells K12, in a an evaluation of their proposals.

School administrators voted in favor of the change on the recommendation of Superintendent Clayton Anderson with a vote no from board chairwoman Teresa Dastrup, who thanked Chartwells for the company’s service.

“I’ve been here long enough to know that Chartwells has really worked and worked to try to meet the challenges in our district,” she said May 24, but added that she would support the board’s decision.

Anderson said the district issued a request for proposals and SFE received the highest score in evaluations conducted by a special committee.

“Despite the positive interaction I’ve always had with Chartwells employees, that’s how the scores came out, and that’s where the recommendation came from,” he said.

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The committee reviewing the Chartwells and Scottsdale, Arizona, SFE proposals gave SFE a score of 92 out of 100 and Chartwells a score of 83. The categories covered the cost; method of approach and implementation plan; experience, expertise and reliability; and evaluation of 21-day sample menus.

SFE scored 28 points on cost, Chartwells, 24. On implementing a plan to meet district needs, SFE scored 24, Chartwells, 20. On experience, expertise and reliability, Chartwells got 20, SFE got 18, and on the sample menu, SFE got 18, Chartwells got 16.

SFE’s proposed rates included a management fee of 7.24 cents per meal and an administrative fee of 15.62 cents per meal, according to the school district. Chartwell’s proposal was 15 cents per meal and an annual administrative fee of $150,000.

Chartwells chief executive for the district, Jeff Tobias, said in a public comment earlier in the meeting that Chartwells employees were “dispirited” by the possibility of losing the contract after serving the district for eight years.

“I think Chartwells has done a great job of keeping employees informed about the pandemic and feeding the kids during the pandemic. I know the competition is making big promises, but we know what Chartwells have been doing – good work,” Tobias said.

Chartwells K12 and the school district provided meals through distribution stations in Elko, Spring Creek, West Wendover, Wells, Jackpot, Carlin and Owyhee during the pandemic when public schools were closed and children went to school from a distance.

Monty Staggs, CEO of SFE, said on March 25 that “SFE is honored to partner with the Elko County School District to provide healthy and delicious meals to students. We’re excited to bring our fresh-from-the-scratch approach and focus on local partnerships to student plates across the district. We look forward to working with the talented team at Elko and supporting their individual growth with top-notch hands-on training. »

In response to a question from administrator Matt McCarty, Anderson said some of the food service employees are Chartwells employees and some are school district employees, and those employed by the district “will maintain that status.” Chartwells employees will no longer be employed, but he said “it is expected” that SFE will seek to employ the majority, other than management.

Staggs said in the emailed statement that the company “is excited to welcome the Elko County School District team to SFE. District employees will remain Elko County School District employees and the non-executive employees of the former foodservice management company will be offered the same position at SFE, we can’t do it without them, and we’re excited to work together to provide great meals for Elko students. .

McCarty thanked Tobias, and he said that after reviewing the scores, he thought the board should accept the superintendent’s recommendation to outsource the school program to SFE.

Administrator Jeff Durham said there was a “pretty big gap” in the headings of the two companies, but Chartwells scored higher on experience and reliability and it “blew me away “. He said, however, that the rest of the percentage differences cannot be ignored.

Trustee Dr Joshua Byers praised the committee for the work done in going through the lengthy proposals, and he said: ‘I don’t take this decision lightly when jobs are at stake, but the district needs to take the best decision for the students and the district. himself.

The proposals were available for viewing in the district office, but the only viewers were administrators Byers and Susan Neal, according to Anderson.

Chartwells began providing meals to schools in Elko County in 2015, after the school board decided to outsource food distribution services, and the contract was renewed in 2016. The company has operated under of this contract until its expiration on June 30.

“A call for tenders in catering is required every five years. COVID-19 has resulted in extensions for many states, including Nevada, which is why our last RFP was over five years ago,” said Chief Financial Officer Julie Davis.

SFE serves 160 school districts nationwide, according to the company.

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