The Meramec Valley R-III School District renewed its contract with a private food service management firm to operate the district food and nutrition program for the next school year.

At its May 15 meeting, the school board approved a recommendation of the administration to renew the one-year May 2012 contract with Chartwells School Dining Services to provide management, consulting, meal planning and other related services for one additional year.

In 2009, the district entered into a five-year contract with Chartwells that can be renewed on an annual basis, said Superintendent Randy George.

“We’re recommending that we renew for the final year in five-year contract,” he said. “Next year we will have to go through a complete evaluation and bid process.”

For the 2013-14 academic year, Chartwells is proposing a combined administrative/management fee of $.1852 per meal served, which is a slight increase. The prior year amount was $.1800 per meal served.

“The goal of the school district’s food and nutrition program is to make the most efficient use of resources available, including use of government food commodities, while still providing healthy meals that taste good and meet mandates,” George said.

Joel Cracchiolo, district business manager, also recommended approval of the contract.

“I can’t say enough about the complexity involved in operating our food service department,” Cracchiolo said. “Between regulations and food prices, we could not do it on our own without the resources of Chartwells.”