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CPS joins with other school districts for cheaper, healthier lunches

Updated: March 20, 2013 12:53PM

Chicago Public Schools will join urban school districts in California, Florida, New York and Texas to coordinate school lunch planning in an attempt to keep costs down while providing healthful food choices.

To kick off the initiative, students in all six districts were being served the same lunch on Wednesday featuring chicken, brown rice with seasoned black beans, steamed broccoli, fresh fruit and milk.

“We created this menu based on the most popular items we commonly serve in each of our districts,” said Leslie Fowler, director of Nutrition Support Services at Chicago Public Schools. “Our goal moving forward is to identify these commonalities and work with our vendors to capitalize on our purchasing power so that we’re providing the best and freshest foods possible to our students at the lowest costs possible.”

The districts also will work together to purchase items like biodegradable trays in bulk, New York City Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said.

In addition to New York City and Chicago, the alliance includes public schools in Los Angeles; Dallas; and Miami and Orlando in Florida. The six districts serve a total of nearly 3 million lunches every school day purchase more than $530 million in food and food supplies annually.

“This show of solidarity is unprecedented,” said Los Angeles Unified School District Food Services Director David Binkle. “It demonstrates that all the school districts in the alliance can work together to implement the same programs while serving nutritious meals to our students.”

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