SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois school districts are one step closer to being empowered to make food vendor decisions based on quality, not mandate, under a plan passed Friday by state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria.
“Students deserve to receive healthy, high-quality meals that help them grow and learn,” Gordon-Booth said. “For too long, our laws have locked school districts in a race to the bottom for ‘lowest bidder full service’ contracts that have disproportionately hurt low-income and minority students. Today we took action to change that.”
Gordon-Booth’s House Bill 4813 removes the lowest bidder mandate for contracts involving school food services under the National School Lunch Program. Her proposal enables school districts to grade possible food service vendors with a matrix to better evaluate contractors, providing great flexibility to account for food quality, vendor history and feedback from students and staff.
Gordon-Booth was driven to pass the measure after reviewing pictures that showed poor-quality food being served in area-schools.
“I am thankful for the years-long work from parents, students, school officials, advocates and everyone else who stepped up wanting to improve our meals for our kids,” Gordon-Booth said. “I appreciate the bipartisan support this received, and I encourage Governor Pritzker to sign this bill.”