The State Board staff has sent out an email to those districts that have a food service contract up this year.
Here is a link to the PDF that attempts to explain the differences between the low bid IFB option and an RFP in accordance with the new law passed last spring:https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Invitation-Bid-Req-Proposal.pdfIllinois ASBO has advocated for an opportunity to improve the quality of lunches for children where a National School Lunch Program is in operation. We noted that Illinois and New York were the only states that would drive the decision to the lowest price per meal.
Here is one quote from their document that seems to still promote the IFB bid option and seems to assume that an RFP is not competitive:
"SFAs have a fundamental responsibility to be effective stewards of the taxpayers' money. We know that many schools are experiencing financial challenges and ensuring competition is one process that can help keep meal costs down." We recommend that districts look to the RFP process to improve the quality of food choices and at the same time maintain competition in the marketplace.Below is a survey response from Todd Drafall (one of our chief advocates for the RFP process):
"The IFB process has created an inferior product for children. The system does not allow for a process that allows students, parents, and staff to effectively evaluate the offering of a food service provider. Additionally, it has resulted in inferior food products and services. Illinois was one of two States in 50 that required low-bid food for NSLP. … We intend to use the new law to create a process that includes students, parents, and staff in the review of food service vendors and allows for a higher quality of food and service."
Again, we believe the new RFP process allows every NLSP district the best opportunity to improve their offerings to students while obtaining an appropriate price per meal.