Students in York schools may see some changes in the cafeteria next fall, when they get their meals through a different food service company.
The York school board earlier this month voted to award a contract for the district’s food service to Chartwells, a large food service company. Another food service company, Sodexo, has held the contract for the district’s food service for about 20 years, said Amy Hagner, finance director.
Hagner said Sodexo hasn’t had any competition for York’s food service contract in the past. She said administrators recommended changing to Chartwells for a variety of reasons, including price, marketing and menus.
She said Chartwells offers a lot of marketing ideas to encourage healthy eating among students.
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“It’s all about food presentation, marketing, getting the kids excited about nutrition, going through the cafeteria,” Hagner said. “They’ve got all kinds of ideas to get the kids excited about eating and good nutrition.”
Chartwells already serves the Clover school district, and the Clover school board recently renewed its contract with the company.
Hagner said the change involves extra staff support from Chartwell’s, including a dietitian who will serve both York and Clover schools. Food service employees will remain employees of the school district, she said.
Hagner said Chartwells still has to meet federal regulations for school meals, but it might offer some different menu choices.
She said one of the reasons school administrators recommended the company was that it offered creative ideas to increase school lunch participation, both at the elementary and secondary level.
“They are more creative as to how we can get to those kids,” she said.
She said York already has a high level of participation for its school meals, from a high of 86 percent at Harold C. Johnson Elementary School to a low of 73 percent at Hunter Street Elementary.
York Comprehensive High School, typically the most challenging level to get student participation in school lunches, has a 74 percent participation rate in school lunches.
The York school board also agreed to increase school lunch prices by 10 cents per meal, to meet federal requirements.
Beginning in the fall, school lunches will cost $2.15 each at the elementary school level and $2.25 at secondary schools. The cost of breakfast will remain unchanged at $1.
Jennifer Becknell • 803-329-4077