Chartwells Continues to Provide Food for Bay Co. Schools

The private food service company, Chartwells Incorporated, was put in all the Bay County public schools last year.
They are under a five year contract that is renewable each year, Tuesday the contract was renewed.
The district had hoped to make up to $1 million each year under the contract.
"We were using Chartwells and didn't know how much profit we had,” said Joe Walker, a school board member. “I know we're guaranteed $750,000 but in years past, the year before last, before Chartwells took over, we had a profit of $1.2 million."
Walker believes not enough research has been done into comparing meal counts and making sure a proper profit is being met.
There are also students who complain the food is not as good as in years past, but that could be because the company focuses on feeding students healthy food to help fight childhood obesity.
"The only way we'll beat obesity is for us to take a lead on it in the schools," said Bay Co. Superintendent Bill Husfelt.
Husfelt also says eating healthy is a number one priority and if eating junk food is what they want, well that will not be happening.
"It wouldn't make any difference if it was company a or z providing the food,” Husfelt said. “The food is not going to be the same as the food they're used to having and it's because we're trying to change eating habits."
More than 50 percent of the students in Bay County are on free or reduced lunches.
The move to hire Chartwells came after the district wanted to privatize some of its support services to help recoup millions of dollars in anticipated budget shortfalls.