Chartwells Inc. Still Battling Criticism

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Nearly one school year into its five year contract with Bay District Schools, the private company Chartwells Incorporated still has some harsh critics.

"It's really disgusting. Last year I would eat lunch here every single day. This year it's like I don't even want to eat it anymore," said Jinks 8th Grader Alex Sherman.

The district hired Chartwells in 2012 hoping it would revamp its cafeterias and save the district at least $750,000 per year. So far Chartwells appears to have lived up to the financial commitment.

"The last meeting that we had we discussed that, they seem to be on track," Bay District Schools Deputy Superintendent Sandra Davis said.

But the students NewsChannel 7 spoke with were split on the quality of food they're getting.

"They serve us this meatball sub. It looks absolutely disgusting," Sherman told NewsChannel 7's Bryan Anderson.

"I think it's definitely better than it was last year," said Jinks 7th Grade Student Rebecca Espanola.

Chartwells officials pointed out they took over at the same time the U.S.D.A. issued new nutrition regulations.

"We're still adding flavor, just not the level of sodium that we were using outside the regulations last year. We have done an outstanding job so far," Chartwells Resident District Manager Julio Narvaez said.

But do the decision-makers agree?

"Reimburseable meals are up over 85,000 over previous year," said Narvaez.

"I would probably give them a B minus," said Davis.

"I'd probably give it a B right now. I'd like to see food quality for sure be a top priority for them and then ultimately customer service," School Board Member Steve Moss said.

Chartwells said it plans to submit the reapplication paperwork to the school district within the next month.

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