TRENTON – The state Senate on Monday approved legislation that would allow county-wide purchasing agreements for food and custodial services.
“At a time when resources for education and child nutrition are scarce this bill promotes efficiency measures that could save millions of dollars in management fees while ensuring that our schools serve healthy and quality food to our children,” said state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), a sponsor of the bill. “By consolidating contracting at the county level, school districts, communities and parents maintain control over the food choices served to our children while benefiting from the economies of scale that give our counties more power at the bargaining table.”
The bill, S-1191, would require school systems that want to privatize food and custodial services to use the single, county contract if one is in place in their county. This would bring consistency and fairness to a fragmented system and produce savings through economies of scale, Lesniak noted. It would also protect workers’ rights by preventing the dissolution of collective bargaining agreements through participation in a county agreement or by subcontracting during the term of the collective bargaining agreement.
“A county-wide system would also level the playing field so that large vendors can’t take advantage of smaller school districts in negotiating contracts nor can they take advantage of employees by doing away with collective bargaining agreements,” added Lesniak. “This bill protects taxpayers and employees alike.”
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