Sodexo on Track for School Contract Renewal

Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy told School Board members last week that the district’s relationship with new food service provider, Sodexo of Gaithersburg, Maryland, has been a success so far and may possibly expand as Sodexo offer new service areas.

Sodexo staff and visitors (l-r) Greg Wethey, George Hegley, Bruce Forgrave, Vickie Mueller and John Gallagher - Photo Edward Leonard

Murphy’s comments were based on an on-site review of CCPS’s food service program. According to school documents, a broad-based review team of school staff and Sodexo staff met to offer input and suggestions regarding the first 90 days of the business relationship. The meeting included discussion about expectations and the collaborative future between CCPS and Sodexo.

“We continue to be very excited about our partnership, and do consider it a partnership in all accounts” Murphy told the School Board. “As partners, we are committed to continuing to work together for the long-term health and success of the Clarke County Public Schools.”

According to the report, Sodexo and CCPS have identified a range of goals and challenges, some of which will be tackled immediately while others will be deferred for implementation during the summer break:

Healthy Vending: Sodexo is looking for a secondary vending source to improve vending machine selections for students. Sodexo’s preferred vendor, HUMAN Healthy, HUMAN stands for Helping Unite Man and Nutrition and donates 10% of proceeds back to charitable causes that fight childhood obesity and malnutrition, does not service Clarke County at this time prompting a search for an alternative provider.

Comprehensive Staff Evaluation: Sodexo plans to provide CCPS with the evaluation tool it uses for Sodexo hourly staff so that CCPS can formulate policy and procedures that meet the district’s needs and goal.

Market Catering: Sodexo will create a formal catering brochure and ordering process for use by school groups. The brochure will include information for administration concerning BBQ’s for field days, bagged lunches for field trips and student – athlete meals for away games.

Product Positioning / Marketing: Sodexo’s Marketing Resource Manager will visit CCPS during February to review opportunities for enhanced marketing opportunities throughout the program.

Sports Table – Meals for Team Travel: Options will be included in Sodexo’s catering offering so that sports teams are no longer required to stop for fast food on the way home from events.

Focus Groups with Student Government: Sodexo plans to work with principals at each school to engage students on a quarterly basis for feedback and to communicate food service offerings.

Low Balance Notification for Students: Sodexo has the capability to notify parents of low-balance student accounts through electronic mail. Phone message alert for low balances will cost CCPS an additional $2,000 if purchased.

While Sodexo hopes to offer new service variations and increase student participation, the report also highlighted existing problems that need to be addressed in order to meet current student needs. According to the report Sodexo hopes to:

Increase Breakfast Participation in All Levels: Implement service “to the students” – breakfast in the classroom, breakfast service lines at entrances as students come into school to maximize morning meal counts.

Maintain Availability of all menu items for all lunch shifts at elementary schools

Staffing: Review staff levels to maximize customer service. Continue to train and reinforce customer service training.

Improve Service Speed at Clarke County High School: Move service line to cafeteria area and review staffing needs and present plan to administration for review.

Menu Mix: Do not Serve cheeseburgers and chicken patties every day in the middle school. Sodexo will work to set a formal rotation at both middle school and high school immediately.

According to Murphy, talks are underway to extend Sodexo’s contract with Clarke County Public Schools. Murphy said that Sodexo has recently expanded its service offering to include school maintenance and CCPS is reviewing the possibility of contracting with Sodexo for school maintenance services.


  1. “…Sports Table – Meals for Team Travel: Options will be included in Sodexo’s catering offering so that sports teams are no longer required to stop for fast food on the way home from events….”

    Why only sports teams? Athletics aren’t the only extra-curricular activities offered by CCPS. Dr. Murphy should know that.

    • Former CCHS Student says:

      Oh, please, rightwinger. Don’t get so technical about it. Yes there are other extra-curricular activities offered but it’s common knowledge that sports teams are the groups that have to stop most frequently to eat. I’m sure the superintendent is aware of that. It even states in an earlier point that “for field days, bagged lunches for field trips and student – athlete meals for away games.” Field trips are mentioned, so I can guarantee that Dr. Murphy knows sports teams aren’t the only ones stopping for food.

      • I’m merely pointing out that it’s not common knowledge that there are other CCPS groups that travel a LOT that are not athletics and they have to stop for fast food to and/or from activities.

        I’ll quit bringing it up when people stop worshipping at the altar of the athlete and give other non-athletic school groups a fair shake. Meaning, look at the stipend budget for athletics vs. the budget for non-athletics.

        CCHS Athletic Director $6,106
        CCHS Athletics Supervision $6,106
        CCHS Wrestling Coach $2,799
        CCHS Wrestling Assistant Coach $2,035
        CCHS Weightlifting Coach $2035
        CCHS Weightlifting Coach $1017
        CCHS Volleyball – Head Varsity Coach $2,799
        CCHS Volleyball – Assistant $2,035 $
        CCHS Track – Head Coach (Boys & Girls} $3307
        CCHS Track – Assistant Coach $2,544
        CCHS Track – Assistant Coach $2,544
        CCHS Track – Assistant Coach $2,544
        CCHS Track – Assistant Coach $2544
        CCHS Tennis – Girls Head Coach $2,799
        CCHS Tennis – Boys Head Coach $2,799
        CCHS Swimmino Coach $2035
        CCHS Swimming Asst $1,017
        CCHS Softball- Head VarsitY Coach $3,307
        CCHS Soflball- Head JV Coach $2,544
        CCHS Soflball- Asst Coach $2,544
        CCHS Soccer Head Varsity Coach – Girls $3307
        CCHS Soccer Head Varsity Coach – Boys $3307
        CCHS Soccer Assistant Coach – Girls $2,544
        CCHS Soccer Assistant Coach – Boys $2,544
        CCHS Soccer Assistant JV) $2544
        CCHS Soccer Assistant JV) $2544
        CCHS Indoor Track Asst $475
        CCHS Indoor Track $950
        CCHS Football- Head Coach $5,382
        CCHS Football- Assl Coach $4,071
        CCHS Football” Assl Coach $4,071
        CCHS Football- Assl Coach $4,071
        CCHS Fcotball- Assl Coach $4,071
        CCHS Football- Assl Coach $4,071
        CCHS Cross Country Coach $3,307
        CCHS Cross Country Asst. $2,544
        CCHS Cross Country Asst. $2,544
        CCHS Cheerleader – Varsity Fall Coach $2,035
        CCHS Cheerleader – JV Winter Coach $1,017
        CCHS Cheerleader – JV Fall Coach $1,017
        CCHS Cheerleader – Dance $1,017
        CCHS Basketball Girls Head Varsity Coach $3,639
        CCHS Basketball Girls Assistant $2,544
        CCHS Basketball Girls Assistant $2544
        CCHS Basketball Boys Assistant $2544
        CCHS Basketball Boys Assistant $2,544
        CCHS Basketball- Boys Head Varsity Coach $3,639
        CCHS Baseball -J.V. Coach $2,544
        CCHS Baseball – Head Coach $3,307
        CCHS Baseball- Assistant Coach $2,544
        CCHS PE Instruction $2,060
        CCHS PE Instruction $2,060

        Let’s look at the non-athletic activities:
        CCHS Spring Color Guard $1900
        CCHS Scholastic Bowl $2142 x 70% $1425
        CCHS Scholastic Bowl $1071 x 70% $713
        CCHS SCA Advisor $979
        CCHS Pep Band Director $713
        CCHS PAL Coordinator $661
        CCHS ONE ACT Soonsor $1,017
        CCHS Marching Assistant $748
        CCHS Forensics Sponsor $1,017
        CCHS Folger Competition Sponsor $611
        CCHS Fall Color Guard $1,900
        CCHS Department Chair Special Education $3,000
        CCHS Department Chair English $3,000
        CCHS Department Chair World Language $1,000
        CCHS Department Chair Social Studies $3,000
        CCHS Department Chair Science $3,000
        CCHS Department Chair Physical Education/Fine Arts $1,000
        CCHS Department Chair Math $3,000
        CCHS Debate $1,017
        CCHS Creative Writing $1,017
        CCHS Chorus Director $2,290
        CCHS Child Study Chair $1,468
        CCHS Band Percussion December to March Leader $1017
        CCHS Band Percussion December to March) Leader $1,017
        CCHS Band Flag Corps Leader (Winter Guard) $748
        CCHS Band Director $3,307
        CCHS Asst. Band Director $2,544

        Draw your own conclusions, do your own math. This is from the 2011 budget adopted by the School Board.

        • Conclusion says:

          Looks about right to me!

          Folgers competition? What is that? Who can make the best coffee?

          Child Study Chair? Musical Chairs? Not sure what that is either?

          Pep Band Director? They played at like 3 B-Ball games? Do they do other things I’m unaware of ?

          • Athletics Supervision–Don’t the coaches do that? 2 PE Instructions– Don’t we already have PE teachers? 5 assistant football coaches? 2 assistant basketball coaches? 4 track assistant coaches?

            Seems like a bunch of assistant coaches could be trimmed from the budget if you ask me.

          • Bill Thomas says:

            I take it you weren’t too good in sports growing up? Did the jocks pick on you? If I had a dollar for everytime you complained on this board we could solve every budget deficit in the County.

          • Actually, Bill, I played 3 sports. Football, soccer, and swimming. I have several awards that I won growing up. You could say that soccer is part of my screen name, it’s the position I played after I broke my wrist playing goalie and scored my only goal of my soccer career. I played defensive tackle in football my whole middle and high school career.

            I complain because I see kids getting screwed because what they do isn’t considered “cool” or “popular”, even though they make the school look good.

            Squeaky wheel gets the oil, Bill.

          • The assistant coaches for basketball also serve as the JV and Freshman coaches, same for the other sports. How much money in ticket sales did the Scholastic Bowl bring in last year?

          • Interested bysitter says:

            Gate revenue makes one more important to producing well-rounded young adults than another? Really? The gate revenue goes right back into whatever produces it – athletics, the musicals, etc. The county provides stipends so that there are opportunities for students to participate in activities that interest them and explore opportunities beyond the classroom or lab or Vo-Ag shop.

          • No it does not make one more important than the other, it gives one more money to work with than the other. I also believe that coaching some activities requires alot more time than others.

          • Your belief does not matter. It’s the facts that matter. Until we get a listing of how much time each activity takes, I say we hold off on all stipends until they can be justified.

          • StoneBroke says:

            RightWinger—nobody has to justify anything to you! Just because you can copy and paste doesn’t make your opinions on this forum any more important than anyone else. So I doubt if anything will halt or if anything will change just because you say so—I can guarantee you it will be the same thing for years to come and have been that way for year’s in the past.

          • Whoe, slow down there StoneBroke…who said anything about opinions mattering more than someone else’s? I merely pointed out that believing that one activity requires more time than another doesn’t matter, it’s what actually takes place, the facts, that matter. All we hear from the BOS is how much less we have to work with. It’s my OPINION that ALL budget items should be looked at and not treated as SACRED COWS, and those budget items should be justified. If we don’t have a Folger competition, cut the line item from the budget. If we don’t need a Pep Band Director, cut the line item from the budget. Why do some coaches and assistant/JV coaches receive a higher stipend than others? Why does a team of 70+ participants need 5 assistant coaches when a marching band of 70+ participants has 1 assistant?
            And yes, I realize that football has offense coaches, defense coaches, linebacker coaches, quarterback coaches, etc. Marching Bands have several sections too that require individual attention as well. I’m just asking why in this forum rather than being labeled an “uncooperative/negative parent” for voicing concerns at School Board meetings that friends of mine had to endure for asking why. It’s the nature of the beast in this County.

          • Interested bysitter says:

            The Folgers competition is/was a theatre competition sponsored by the Folgers Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. I don’t know the last time we sent someone to it.

            The Child Study Chair coordinates all special education child study meetings for each building.

  2. I would like to know if other parents have seen their kids food costs spike since the arrival of Sodexo. I have seen lunch costs double for my children since the school adopted them as their vendor. I’m glad they are attempting to make the food service sustainable but it doesn’t seem to be through more students eating school lunch, it seems we are just paying much, much more.

    Also the ability to select foods has not made their diet more nutritious. On the contrary it seems like now they have a steady diet of pizza and fries.

    Seems like a failure to deliver to me…

    • Momin22611 says:

      Yes, Mike, I have seen my elementary school children’s food costs increase significantly also. My second grader told me this evening that he was out of lunch money. I went to Cafe Prepay to discover that he has been buying chips and extra drinks every day as well as ice cream regularly (in addition to the chips!). He does not need chips every day. Under the old system, you just paid for a certain number of lunches and they did not have the option of lots of snacks. Needless to say, we will start packing our lunches.

      • So that’s Sodexo’s fault that your kid buys the extra stuff?


        • BlossomButt says:

          It is their fault if the snacks are provided now and werent before. I cant be there when my student eats, so I cant decide what he picks. Before, he had no choice but a healthy lunch. Now, he has all the snacks and junk to choose from and thats where my money is going now.

        • Conclusion says:

          He is a 2nd Grader. Chips shouldn’t be an option on a daily basis! How about something a little more healthier. Isn’t this what was told when Sodexo was going to take over? Healthier Lunches. Doesn’t sound like it to me!

        • livein22611 says:

          Have you talked to your child to let them know that they should not be buying the chips and ice cream? Then let them know that you will be checking their account to see what they are eating AND if they continue buying the chips you will start packing lunches/take away tv or game system/etc. This is actually a great chance to teach responsibility and consequences. Of course, parents have a really hard time with the consequences these days!

      • DAWN PRICE says:

        my child is in 2nd grade at cooley she is not allowed the snack selection and ice cream as they call it is a fruit pop only once a week.. would not mind the 2 milks if it were not wasted. I do have to say my JWMS child is eating more now than in elemntary school but likes his lunch and is not hungry when he comes home from school. pros and cons for all out there

  3. Once again, grant funding could have been applied here for food service profit:

    CCPS numbers don’t add up. There was an 18% increase in poulation( 200-2010) thus school enrollment from 2001-2010( see above link) yet our students (especially free/reduced)refuse breakfast. Nutional education? NO. Marketing? No. Transportation. YES! Get the highest number of kids who NEED breakfast to school on time. No brainer for a profit!

  4. Mimi Stein says:

    I see a lot of ways to increase SODEXHO profits, but I’m not sure I see a lot of discussion about how to maximize nutrition in the most cost-effective manner.

  5. livein22611 says:

    Everybody complains about school lunches but what do you serve at home, have in the pantry, or get when you go thru the drive-thru? I’m okay with my kid eating pizza. The chips they have are baked, so that’s not all bad. Kids won’t eat healthy unless they are forced to and then they dump most of it in the trash. Real healthy food will cost a bit more so be prepared to fork over more per lunch. Do you want to spend $4-5 per day? And what about when these kids get home? Do you have carrot sticks and celery at the ready? Baked fries, deli sandwiches, pizza, it’s a lot better than the crap they used to get. I will agree that we need to make lunches as healthy as possible but it’s better to serve what they will eat and not what ends up in the dumpster.