Letter: Outsourcing lowers school-food quality

While you were out enjoying your last week of summer vacation, the Fairfield School Board was busy slipping in -- and approving -- a new agenda item: Outsourcing of the Fairfield Public School's food-service program.

Fairfield schools have been blessed.

While news from around the nation talks of poor food choices children are presented in public schools, parents and the Fairfield food-service division have worked together over the years to deliver healthier food choices for your kids. One could argue that the Fairfield School District offers the best food service in Connecticut. Just last year, in fact, Fairfield public schools made the news when the Fairfield PTA Council group, Fuel For Learning Partnership, contracted nationally renowned Chef John Turenne of Sustainable Food Systems to educate and coach food service staff on food preparation and in the use of locally sourced ingredients in school cafeterias. The takeaway was better prepared Fairfield food service staff who continue to prepare meals that raise the bar for food service in the State.

Yet, the Board of Education has decided the gains in food nutrition achieved in Fairfield Public Schools are outweighed by the costs to deliver healthy foods to Fairfield children and have directed that request for proposals be sent out to outsourcing foodservice management companies for bid. Perhaps the Board should go on a field trip to various school districts with established outsourced food service programs and see for themselves what they are considering for Fairfield's future before they arbitrarily start taking bids for services the people of Fairfield may not even want.

Talk to parents and faculty who have had an outsourced food service company take over their school district's nutrition program, and consistently they say their experience did not improve, the quality of prepared foods and services diminished over time.

Are you prepared to lose all the ground you achieved in recent years that assured the food service program reflects your principles and desires for healthy food choices for your children?

More importantly, are you ready to turn over the Fairfield food-service program to the lowest bidder?

Robert Grady