Senior Houston schools officials are considering terminating the district’s agreement with Aramark after they say the Philadelphia-based food-services company incurred a loss of $1.9 million in district taxpayer money – a contract violation.
Lunceford said the contract with Aramark contains provisions that ensure the Houston Independent School District meets budget estimates. Aramark manages lunch and breakfast programs and cafeterias for the district. The loss was for the 2011 fiscal year, which ended in June.
“A result that leaves the Food Service program over budget and the District accountable for this loss is unacceptable,” Melinda Garrett, HISD’s chief financial officer, said in a November e-mail to board members and district officials. “Our meetings with Aramark have come to an impasse, and we are moving forward with assistance from Thompson and Horton in filing a claim under the performance bonds.”
A performance bond is a way of guaranteeing that a contractor does what he says he’s going to do.
Aramark officials had previously told HISD officials that the district could expect about a $1.1 million surplus in the food operations, district spokesman Jason Spencer said. Spencer said ending the contract is one option the district is considering and that the contract is up to be rebid next year for food services starting in 2014.
Superintendent Terry Grier met with Aramark’s educational division president, Dennis Maple, in October in an attempt to resolve the situation.
But Maple told Grier “that they felt they did not owe anything and the most they could (possibly) look at to resolve this is around $200,000,” Garrett said.
Karen Cutler, an Aramark spokeswoman responsible for the company’s K-12 education food services, could not be reached immediately. Texas Watchdog left Cutler a voicemail and sent Cutler an e-mail requesting comment, and we’ll update this post if we hear back from her.
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