The guarantee of better school lunches that will entice more students
to stay on campus for lunch led the local school board to approve a
new contract with a private food-service consultant.
The terms of the contract with Maryland-based Sodexho, one of the
largest school lunch consultants in the country, are based on
projections of sales of school lunches. La Canada Unified School
District will pay the company 8.5 cents per meal it sells, plus a
consultation fee of $65,000.
The district will purchase food through the distributors that
Sodexho contracts. The agreement takes effect Jan. 1, and is
renewable on a yearly basis. The district had been purchasing the
food on its own through different vendors.
With an average 12% of the district's 4,200 students buying
lunches each day, the school will pay Sodexho about $835,000 during
the first year. During Tuesday's board meeting, Sodexho
representatives said the company would increase student participation
Sodexho will increase the items on the daily menus and their
nutritional value, said Herman Lozano, an account executive with the
"The district's elementary schools serve two menus daily, we would
like to increase that to five," Lozano said. "At the high school, we
would like to increase their menu to 15 different items daily."
Menu items could include teriyaki chicken and barbecue burgers.
A majority of students at La Canada High School have opted to
drive off campus for lunch to eateries along Foothill Boulevard.
Having an open campus makes it tougher to lure students to eat
cafeteria food, but district officials do not have plans to close the
campus at lunchtime.
The district also hopes to increase teacher purchases of school
lunches. The district will allow local restaurants to continue
selling food on campus.