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Havasu school district keeps lunch vendor for another five years

March 25, 2019

Lake Havasu Unified School District is reheating its contract with its food vendor.

The low bid for the district’s food service contract was provided by Taher, the same company that has been managing student lunches and breakfasts for the past five years. The recommendation by staff to retain Taher was unanimously approved at the district’s governing board meeting Thursday evening. The Arizona Department of Education also approved the deal.

The company’s bid was for an administration fee of 6.5 cents and a management fee of 4 cents per meal.

The agreement is set to renew annually. It begins with the school year 2019-20.

“Under a cost-reimbursable contract, the district pays (Taher) the direct costs incurred to run the program plus a fixed administrative fee and management fee per meal,” said Business Services Director Michael Murray. Taher provides all school meals, catering, adult meals and the district’s summer feeding program, said Anne Taffe. She is the district’s Child Nutrition Supervisor and helped evaluate the food service companies along with Murray and Patti Bacer, a procurement specialist.

“Operations are closely monitored by (Taher), and the district, so there are no costs to the district,” Murray said. “Any excess revenue generated by the program is used to replace aging equipment.”

And some of the appliances are quite old, Taffe said. “Last year, we replaced a bunch of ovens, a freezer at Thunderbolt and a brazier that was brought in when the high school was built,” she said, noting that running a large kitchen is no small task.

“We’re the biggest restaurant in town.”

As for those per-meal fees paid to Taher, Taffe said the administration fee covers staff worker’s compensation, accounting, design services, dietetic services, menu development, general regional/national support, payroll documentation, supervisory and audit personnel, test kitchens and trademark charges.

The management fee represents a profit to the food service management company.

The school district – through Taher — serves 3,000 meals a day to the district’s 5,400 students.

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