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Friday, October 16th, 2015 | Author:

The start of the school year can be hectic for both parent and students, but this year at school district across RI, Aramark managers were there to help! Aramark managers participated in open house events in districts across the state including Pawtucket (pictured), Cranston, Johnston and Westerly to help families navigate the start of the school year process. Aramark tables at open house events included information on this year’s new meal benefit application, the online pre-payment system, the current year’s lunch menu and other district-specific initiatives. Tables also featured a healthy snack of locally grown apples from Hill Orchards in Johnston and coloring materials featuring Aramark’s elementary school mascot, Ace the Fox, providing students with information on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

Below, Aramark managers Tara Charette and Will Van Patter from Pawtucket Public Schools provide information to parents on upcoming events including the start of Pawtucket’s COZ program on 10/13 which features after school dinners provided by Aramark. Pawtucket’s evening meal program is currently the largest program of this nature in the state!

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Wednesday, August 05th, 2015 | Author:

PAWTUCKET – This vote was far less controversial.

The Pawtucket School Committee last week signed a contract extension with food service vendor Aramark, saying they were happy to do so after the company’s performance in its first year feeding city students.

Aramark came in when the local school district was in a “scary place” last November after former food service provider Sodexo walked out, said School Committee Chairman Michael Araujo, and the state-approved vendor took the reins the day before Thanksgiving without missing a beat.

Members of the School Committee voted last November to rescind a three-year contract with Sodexo after officials from the Rhode Island Department of Education took issue with the board going with a company other than the lowest bidder, Chartwells.

A controversial vote last June to sign with Sodexo over Chartwells, despite Chartwells coming in with a bid $171,000 less, prompted a threat of legal action from the spurned vendor and warnings from R.I.D.E. that the school district could lose $4 million in meal reimbursements if it didn’t restart the bidding process.

With the state’s master vendor list available to them as an alternative to the bid process, school officials decided to sign with state vendor Aramark.

Going with Aramark gave the school board the option of starting the bid process again this year, but they now say they have no reason to move away from the company since they’re happy with the service and the financial terms of the agreement stay exactly the same.

School Committee member Joe Knight congratulated the company for taking over “in such a difficult situation,” with just two weeks’ worth of transition time.

Supt. Patti DiCenso said Aramark workers were “amazingly efficient” with their “seamless transition” to Pawtucket, “acclimating in some very good ways.”

Students have given their approval to the new lunch program at every turn, said DiCenso. One of the best examples was when local high school students were tweeting and Snapchatting Aramark’s “make your own burger” bar as “the coolest thing that ever happened in high school,” she said.

DiCenso said she wants to see what Aramark can do with a whole year to plan their strategy instead of just a few weeks.

School Committee member Erin Dube said she and colleague Kim Grant visited the schools last fall expecting to find “some chaos,” but could find nothing but positives after the new company took over.

Aramark officials said there were some adjustments to be made on the fly, but they were able to take advantage of the knowledge from existing staff who “love the kids and love serving them well.” They said staff and students have noticed the difference in the food since Aramark took over.

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