Jackson County School Board Reviews Bids for Food Service

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Marianna- Jokes about school lunch 'mystery meat' have been around almost as long as school lunchrooms themselves.

"They say it doesn't taste real" Avery Retherford, a 5th grader at Riverside Elementary School laughed.

But the real mystery wasn't what was in the meat, but who was going to serve it?

Tuesday, Jackson County School district officials began reviewing the bids for their food services contract. Sodexo, the current provider, and Chartwell were in the running.

Deputy Superintendent, Larry Moore laid out some of the principal concepts school officials were focused on in making their decision.

"That's always a concern- to provide the best meal for the best value" Moore said. "These companies have people that maintain up to date knowledge on all those [federal nutrition] guide lines." Another goal was to, "stay as close as we can to the reimbursable rate that comes from the US Department of Agriculture."

But the school board was not the only group with expectations. Everyone involved appeared to have their own opinion.

Riverside Elementary School Teacher Jamie Goodwin added, "it it ain't broke don't fix it." Goodwin grew up in Jackson County schools- eating from the cafeteria then and now. He's been eating lunchroom food everyday for the 7 years he's taught at Riverside.

"One, the food's good" Goodwin said. "I definitely like that they've changed to a more healthy menu. And, you can't beat the price. I mean, I can't eat for what they charge anywhere else or bring my own."

But the kids had their own set of expectations. "Make it [round] like normal pizza instead of squares" said Riverview 5th grader, Dekarion Sims.

But, as Avery Retherford reminded us, not everyone can be pleased all the time. She told us she had never tried to cafeteria food, and did not plan to any time soon.

Moore said one of the district's goals was to "try to increase participation in the lunch room." He may not win Retherford's plate, but Moore did say the board hoped to award the contract by Friday.

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