The Philadelphia School District will end its contract with Aramark to run full-service cafeterias in 115 of the district's 267 schools, officials announced yesterday.
As of Oct. 1, the school district will take back the operations and run the cafeterias, which Aramark has run for the last two years.
District officials said earlier this month that they were unhappy that the company had not helped the district erase a long-standing deficit in its full-service cafeteria operations and were considering terminating the five-year contract - renewable annually - after the first two full years.
Yesterday, the district issued a two-sentence statement confirming that the contract, under which Aramark was paid $18.5 million last school year, would not be renewed.
"The district appreciates its two-year partnership with this Philadelphia-based company," the statement said.
Cecilia Cummings, district spokeswoman, declined to comment further.
Details were not immediately available on how the transition would work, such as whether the district will add jobs to run the cafeterias, Cummings said.
"In the transition, we anticipate no interruption in service and we intend to uphold the quality," she said.
Karen Cutler, a spokeswoman for Aramark, also declined comment, except to say that the company appreciated its partnership with the district.
When the district hired Aramark, food-service officials announced that the company had guaranteed it would erase a $3.5 million annual operating deficit.
But that guarantee apparently wasn't ironclad in the contract, and the company was asking the district to shoulder more of the financial burden. As negotiations continued, the contract was extended through September.
District officials had said earlier this month that the program appeared to be running $2.7 million in the red, although no final number was available. No new estimate was available yesterday.
Parents United for Public Education had been critical of the Aramark contract and encouraged the cash-strapped district to consider changes.
Gerald Wright, a Parents United member whose children attend John S. Jenks School, said yesterday that he was pleased with the decision and wanted the district to look carefully at all contracts.
He said he hoped any money that might be saved would be used for instructional employees, nurses, librarians, class-size reduction, and programs that improve the quality of schools.
Aramark manages food service in 420 school districts across the country, including those in Cherry Hill, Upper Darby, Downingtown and West Chester.