About 100 schools in the state are left without food suppliers after a vendor canceled its contract this year.
We spoke with the director of Child Nutrition and Distribution about plans in place to make up for the lost items.
Food distributor Cash-Wa has been dropping contracts with school districts across the state because of a labor shortage. But Linda Schloer says the department has been working closely with schools to find solutions.
Wilton Public School District is one of the schools impacted.
“This beginning of November is when we found out the vendor of our consumption was not going to be able to supply us anymore,” Superintendent Andrew Jordan said.
The school district has been receiving supplies from grocery chain Krause’s.
“We were scrambling, we were calling around, we were seeing if we could go through another vendor. We got turned around by several vendors just because they were going through the same issues,” Jordan said.
As far as cost, Jordan said it hasn’t put the district in overspending.
“It won’t affect our bottom-line budget. If we have to sustain it for a long time it could, but hopefully this is short term,” Jordan said.
Schloer, the Department of Public Instruction Child Nutrition director, said some schools have started asking about new distributors — but some suppliers don’t meet federal government requirements for schools when it comes to meat and whole grain.
“When you’re trying to find a distributor and maybe that distributor doesn’t serve food, they’re not going to carry a big variety of whole rich products,” Schloer said.
Without being contracted through a vendor, Schloer said it has cost some schools more money than usual to find food resources.
“They’re not obligated under a contract to meet a certain price point, they basically say, OK we have chicken nuggets, but instead of $24, we’re going to charge you 30,“ Schloer said.
The question is how long this problem will remain as far as finding a permanent supplier. Waivers through the Department of Public Instruction are also available to help school districts with providing students with proper nutrition.