Don't let Corporations control the school food in Michigan!!
  • Petitioned Michigan Governor

This petition was delivered to:

Michigan Governor
Michigan State Senate
Michigan State House

Don't let Corporations control the school food in Michigan!!

    1. Rachael  Hilliker
    2. Petition by

      Rachael Hilliker

      Owosso, MI

In Michigan, Rep. Dave Agema has introduced HB 4306 that mandates the outsourcing of school support functions including custodial, transportation, and food services. This bill, in effect, ends school food service provided by a local director and staff. Local control and design and initiative would be eliminated as well.

These locally directed school meal programs have been critical to the spread of innovative farm-to-school programs. The major food service companies (Sodexo, Aramark and Chartwells) - have corporate overstructures and profit motives - that discourage innovation.

 

This opens the door for Chartwells, Aramark, and Sodexho to take over local school meal programs in the name of balancing the budget and ending public worker "tyranny" in the budget process.

 

We know that virtually all the innovation in farm-to-school programs has occurred in locally controlled school food programs. Without the creativity and diversity of locally controlled school food programs, the move to true local farm-to-school systems could be substantially thwarted. 

 

In addition, with larger numbers of school systems under contract, food service management companies can demand even larger "promotion kickbacks" from national food companies. What corporate producer of industrial food wouldn't like to have their "chicken nuggets" in front of all the school children in America? So is the health of our children's lunches going to be decided by which corporation has the deepest pockets?

 

We consider this move, along with the Food Safety assault on local food, a major attack on a place-based local food approach to feeding our children and ourselves. The monoculture approach of industrial food production is not sustainable, not healthy, and ultimately, not affordable when all the environmental and health costs are considered. Child obesity is at unprecedented levels in this country as well as Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, etc. in our children.

 

So as we watch the demonstrations in Madison and other state capitols, realize that the battle that is being fought is one over control of our children's school meals, as well. 

 Again, HB 4306 mandates the privatization of custodial, transportation, and food service functions. Please sign this petition to let Michigan, and the rest of the country know that you object to mandating the privatization of food service in our schools.  The children of this country need your voice.

You can find the text of the full bill at http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billintroduced/House/htm/2011-HIB-4306.htm

Rachael Hilliker

Mom and Child Advocate

raerocks@gmail.com

 

Christopher Bedford

Filmmaker-Writer-Organizer

Center for Economic Security

chrisbedford@charter.net

UPDATE: Read this -legislative analysis!! SCHOOLS: NO DIRECT EMPLOYMENT FOR FOOD, CUSTODIAL & TRANSPORT SERVICES House Bill 4306 Sponsor: Rep. David Agema Committee: Education Complete to 2-28-11 A SUMMARY OF HOUSE BILL 4306 AS INTRODUCED 2-22-11 The bill would prohibit a school district or intermediate school district from directly employing personnel to provide food service and custodial or transportation services. The bill is an amendment to the Revised School Code (MCL 380.1245) and applies as of June 30, 2012. The bill would require as of that date that the board of a school district or an intermediate school district enter into one or more contracts for the provision of those services. The bill requires that before entering into any contract described above, or the renewal of any such contract, the board obtain competitive bids on the provision of the services. Not later than January 1, 2012, the state school superintendent would be required to develop and make available to school districts a model competitive bidding process that could be used for the purposes of this subsection. That model could be based on the process for competitive bidding of construction contracts under Section 1267 of the Revised School Code. The bill also specifies that competitive bidding would not apply to contracts of less than $20,000. This threshold would be adjusted each year by an amount equal to the change in the Consumer Price Index. FISCAL IMPACT: The bill would have no fiscal impact on the State and an indeterminate fiscal impact on school districts. While privatization of certain non-instructional services and competitive bidding may allow districts to find savings, many districts have already moved in this direction when savings are to be found. Since 2003, the total number of active employees in MPSERS has dropped from its high of 327,000 to 242,500 in 2010. This reduction of almost 26% occurred over the same period while the pupil population declined by 7%. Some districts have found that maintaining district employees to perform these non-instructional services is less expensive than privatizing; thus, the bill could increase costs under certain circumstances by mandating the privatization of certain non-instructional services. Additionally, as the total payroll for school districts statewide diminishes, the required employer contribution rate for the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System (MPSERS) goes up in order to collect the required total contributions needed to fund the system. Legislative Analyst: J. Hunault Fiscal Analyst: Mary Ann Cleary Bethany Wicksall ■ This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House staff for use by House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 1 signatures
    2. Rachael  Hilliker
      Petition Organizer

      Section 1 was modified from “the Board of a school district…shall not enter into or renew a contract or collective bargaining agreement providing for the provision of custodial, pupil transportation or food services…without first obtaining competitive bids…” (H-2) to “the Board of a school district that directly employs personnel to provide custodial, pupil transportation, or food services…shall obtain competitive bids for the provision of these services…” (H-3).

      · Like the previous version (H-2), H-3 exempts school food service programs that make a profit from having to collect competitive bids for this service (Section 4B).

      · An addition to H-3 is Section 5, which states that “a contractor who provides food services for a school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy is encouraged to provide those services using fresh and local foods in a manner consistent with the purposes of the Farm-to-School Procurement Act, 2008 PA 315…”

    3. Reached 750 signatures
    4. Sarah Parsons
      Petition Organizer

      Chicago's Chef Paul Boundas makes healthy, tasty school lunches for $2.74

    5. Sarah Parsons
      Petition Organizer

      An amended version of HB 4306 was introduced, but it will still negatively impact kids' lunches

    6. Rachael  Hilliker
      Petition Organizer

      Here is the revision to the bill. In our opinion it will still negatively impact the ability to implement farm to school programs. Yes, they will not be required to privatize, however just requiring them to get "competitive bids" that then must be posted for public view on their website is enough to deter schools from the "more expensive" option of HEALTHY farm to school programs!! Everyone knows it costs less money to eat horrible processed food, but if we invest those extra dollars into local, fresh, farm to school programs then we are putting money right back into our local economies and giving our children a healthy start.

      SUBSTITUTE FOR
      HOUSE BILL NO. 4306
      A bill to amend 1976 PA 451, entitled
      "The revised school code,"
      (MCL 380.1 to 380.1852) by adding section 1245.
      THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
      1 SEC. 1245. (1) SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (4), BEGINNING JULY 1,
      2 2012, THE BOARD OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL
      3 DISTRICT OR BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY SHALL NOT
      4 ENTER INTO OR RENEW A CONTRACT OR A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
      5 PROVIDING FOR THE PROVISION OF CUSTODIAL, PUPIL TRANSPORTATION, OR
      6 FOOD SERVICES FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL
      7 DISTRICT, OR PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY WITHOUT FIRST OBTAINING
      8 COMPETITIVE BIDS UNDER SUBSECTION (2). A SCHOOL DISTRICT,
      9 INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, OR PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY MAY CONTRACT
      2
      H00058'11 (H-2) TAV
      1 WITH ANY PERSON OR ENTITY TO PROVIDE THESE SERVICES, OR MAY HAVE
      2 THESE SERVICES PROVIDED ON AN EMPLOYMENT BASIS BY A GROUP OF ITS
      3 EMPLOYEES AFTER OBTAINING COMPETITIVE BIDS UNDER SUBSECTION (2).
      4 (2) SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (4), BEFORE ENTERING INTO OR
      5 RENEWING A CONTRACT OR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT DESCRIBED IN
      6 SUBSECTION (1), THE BOARD OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR INTERMEDIATE
      7 SCHOOL DISTRICT OR BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY
      8 SHALL OBTAIN COMPETITIVE BIDS ON THE PROVISION OF THE SERVICES. THE
      9 COMPETITIVE BIDDING PROCESS ADOPTED BY A SCHOOL DISTRICT,
      10 INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, OR PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY MAY BE BASED
      11 ON THE PROCESS PRESCRIBED FOR COMPETITIVE BIDDING OF CONSTRUCTION
      12 CONTRACTS UNDER SECTION 1267 AND SHALL REQUIRE THAT ALL BIDS
      13 RECEIVED WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR INSPECTION ON THE WEBSITE OF
      14 THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, OR PUBLIC SCHOOL
      15 ACADEMY WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF BIDS.
      16 (3) WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER ENTERING INTO OR RENEWING A CONTRACT
      17 OR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (1), THE
      18 BOARD OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT OR BOARD
      19 OF DIRECTORS OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY SHALL INCLUDE ON ITS
      20 WEBSITE A POSTING THAT IDENTIFIES THE BID SELECTED OR OTHER ACTION
      21 TAKEN AFTER CONSIDERATION OF THE BIDS.
      22 (4) THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
      23 (A) A CONTRACT OF LESS THAN THE THRESHOLD AMOUNT PROVIDED
      24 UNDER SECTION 1267 FOR COMPETITIVE BIDDING TO BE REQUIRED UNDER
      25 THAT SECTION, AS ADJUSTED EACH YEAR UNDER THAT SECTION.
      26 (B) THE PROVISION OF FOOD SERVICES, IF THE REVENUES THAT THE
      27 SCHOOL DISTRICT, INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, OR PUBLIC SCHOOL
      3
      H00058'11 (H-2) Final Page TAV
      1 ACADEMY RECEIVES FROM ITS FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM EXCEED THE COSTS OF
      2 OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM.
      3 (C) AN ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION IN SUPPORT OF A SERVICE
      4 DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (1) IF THAT FUNCTION IS NORMALLY CARRIED
      5 OUT AT A DIFFERENT ADMINISTRATIVE LEVEL THAN THE ACTUAL PROVISION
      6 OF THE SERVICE, SUCH AS PLANNING, ROUTING, OR TRAINING.

    7. Reached 500 signatures
    8. Rachael  Hilliker
      Petition Organizer

      This morning the House Education Committee held a meeting in Lansing on House Bill 4306, which would amend the revised school code.

      A new substitute version of this bill (which again, may still change and has not been adopted by the House; see attached) is now on the table. This substitute bill (H-2) still requires school districts to collect bids for food, custodial, and transportation services but does not mandate that schools/districts privatize these services; "a school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy may contract with any person or entity to provide these services, or may have these services provided on an employment basis by a group of its employees after obtaining competitive bids..." This new version of the bill also exempts school food service programs that make a profit from that requirement; "(4) This section does not apply to...(B) the provision of food services, if the revenues that the school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy receives from its food service program exceed the costs of operation of the program."

      With a packed room including numerous school food service directors, spoken testimony and submitted testimony cards were overwhelmingly in opposition of this bill, although there was some confusion between the different versions of the bill as many had not yet seen the newest substitute bill that began circulating late yesterday. Please check the House Education Committee homepage in the coming days for minutes and testimony from this meeting -
      (Exerpt taken from an email from Colleen Matts, Farm to Institution Specialist,
      CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems,
      Michigan State University, via the FOODSPEAK listserv through MSU.)

      Rachael

    9. Sarah Parsons
      Petition Organizer

      Michigan's Education Committee will hold a hearing TODAY on HB 4306. Speak out against this legislation now!

    10. Meet the Bill that Could Ruin Michigan's Farm-to-School Programs

      Sarah Parsons
      Petition Organizer

      Like most parents, Michigan resident Rachael Hilliker cares very much about the kinds of foods her kids eat. Hilliker has a three-year-old daughter, Claire, and her fiance is the father of an eight-year-old and 10-year old. All three children attend...

    11. Sarah Parsons
      Petition Organizer

      The Education Committee will hold a hearing on this bill TOMORROW, 3/16! Stand up for healthy school food now!

    12. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • LIana May ANN ARBOR, MI
      • about 3 years ago

      Dear Gov. Snyder and MI Representatives,

      The citizens that you are currently representing have been fighting for a long time to get healthy, locally grown, and minimally shipped and processed food into the school systems for decades. In some areas this has been successful and not only are our children now eating healthier foods, but a larger portion of the budget used to buy foods is re-entering our local economy and supporting our neighbors livelihoods, which is critical to re-forming any economy in this state. By re-directing institutional services such as school food services to be outsourced ends all the hard work, and fruits of the labor, that people have been trying to reform and is taking us back to the 1980s when we may have been able to argue that we didnt know better-- but all we know better! Drop HB 4306 and keep our business locally controlled and our children healthy, and our farmer involved!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bob DeKorne MAPLE CITY, MI
      • about 3 years ago

      Please - local farmers and local food is what we want! Please don't create a system where corporations are ahead of our neighbors, and our children can't eat the food products grown and raised in our own community. Thank You

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Aubrey Parker INTERLOCHEN, MI
      • about 3 years ago

      I spoke with Representative Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse & Leelanau Counties) for 45 minutes about the bill last week. He was very nice and informative and open to my questions and suggestions. I feel a bit more at ease—though not completely satisfied—but I encourage you all to CALL your representatives and voice your concerns.

      Schmidt said he plans to vote with the bill, though he realizes it is not a perfect piece of legislation. He also said that he's not even sure that they have the votes within the House to pass it.

      Basically it sounds as though schools that already have local foods initiatives in place will not be required to take a lower bid (with a private company, for example), they just have to listen to any/all bids before coming to a decision. Ultimately it is up to the school board to decide whether they want to take the lower bid or to stick with the program they have now (and the school board answers to the voting public): but they have to justify their decision, which could be as simple as saying, "We want to pay a little extra to buy local eggs and support local farmers because that is part of our mission." However, one thing he did mention is that we need to factor in the cost of the person who is making the eggs in the school kitchen: could you find someone who would do the work for five dollars less an hour (this would all be part of the contractual bid: so, in other words, it's not just the cost of the local food vs. the cost of the processed food, it is also the cost of the labor, which is where this could get dicey...)?

      Schmidt said this bill is more meant for schools that have not analyzed their school lunch programs and dont know what's out there: how much they could save by making some changes...my hope is that our N. Michigan schools become a model for other schools that are having a hard time balancing their budgets and are still serving horrible foods to their children. This would be win-win for all involved: we get to keep local foods in our schools, and we get to help other schools get local foods in their cafeterias.

      However, another risk here (besides the labor cost issue) is if a school board is dissolved and a financial manager is put in place: s/he can get rid of a local food program(!). But, hopefully, schools that already have balanced their lunch programs and are sourcing foods locally (like Benzie and Frankfort, for example) will not be those affected by the financial managers...

      Again: please don't quote me on any of this, and call your representative for yourself! The more voices they hear the more likely we are to get the kind of legislature that we want passed. Thanks everyone for your support.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Charlene MacEachran TRAVERSE CITY, MI
      • about 3 years ago

      I can't believe that this would even enter someone's mind. When are our legislators going to do what is best for the common good and not big business. Moral up folks.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Andrew Gamalski AUBURN HILLS, MI
      • about 3 years ago

      No need for government intervention on this issue! Please leave these decisions to local communities. There are plenty of issues that require government intervention; I don't believe this is one of them. Thanks!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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