Promoting Financial Efficiencies in New Jersey School Food Contracts
In today’s challenging economic climate, government programs are forced to constantly do more with less. School food programs are no exception. In fiscal year 2009, New Jersey spent $525 million feeding school children as part of its $24 billion statewide expenditures for public elementary and secondary education. Of its 590 operation school districts, 70 percent manage their school food programs through contracts with private, for-profit companies.
To explore possible financial savings in NJ’s local school districts, 32BJ/SEIU, one of the region’s largest labor organizers, representing thousands of school workers in NJ, asked The Public Good to identify any financial benefits of aggregating school food management contracts. Through a sophisticated analysis of public financial records and the contracting process, we determined that money could be saved in select school districts.
The bill passed! Our report and expert testimony to the NJ State legislature helped seal their winning case for legislation designed to promote greater economic efficiencies and government purchasing power in school contracts.