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​A food service management company (FSMC) contract is one in which the contractor manages some aspect of the school food service program. Generally, the FSMC prepares and serves the meals and/or manages the school meal program(s).

In a vended meals contract, the contractor provides the meals only (generally pre-packaged/pre-plated) and does not manage any aspect of the school food service. However, if the contractor’s employees are responsible for the management of the program and/or for the final preparation and/or serving of pre-packaged/pre-plated school meals, the contract becomes a FSMC contract and is no longer considered a vended meals contract.

If you are not sure which type of contract you have or you are considering contracting for the first time, please contact the Nutrition Procurement department for further information and clarification (800-545-7892).

Provided below are links to the forms and documents to assist you in completing a successful procurement or contract renewal. 

If you have questions regarding the bid solicitation and contract procedures or contract renewal process, please contact the Nutrition procurement team at (217) 782-2491 or (800) 545-7892 (in Illinois), or nutritionprocurement@isbe.net​.

 Rules and Regulations

The School Code of Illinois (105 ILCS 5/10-20.21)
According to the School Code of Illinois, all food service management company contracts involving expenditures in excess of $25,000 must be competitively bid. Currently, vended meals contracts involving expenditures in excess of the $250,000 federal threshold must be competitively bid.

Bid Document Development
Federal regulations (7 CFR Part 3016.36(b)) prohibit the awarding of contracts to any person or entity that develops or drafts specifications, requirements, statements of work, invitations for bids, requests for proposals, contract terms and conditions or other procurement documents. In failing to fulfill its responsibilities to draft its own specifications and procurement documents, a Sponsoring Organization which copies a list of features or evaluation and ranking criteria drafted by a potential vendor and then permits that potential vendor to submit a bid has violated federal regulation 7 CFR Part 3016.60(b). This pertains to all child nutrition program procurements, including software acquisitions. 

Bid Procedures
Each Sponsoring Organization is required to have procurement procedures in place that reflect applicable state and local laws and regulations, provided that procurements made with Child Nutrition Programs funds adhere to the standards set forth in the federal regulations. Sponsoring Organization procedures must also include a written code of standards of conduct meeting the minimum standards of 7 CFR Part 3016.36(b)(3) or 7 CFR Part 3019.42, as applicable.

Bid Protest
Any action that diminishes open and free competition seriously undermines the integrity of the procurement process and may subject a Sponsoring Organization to bid protests. Sponsoring Organizations are responsible for properly responding to protests and concerns raised by potential contractors. Pursuant to §3016.36(b) (12), SFAs must have protest procedures in place to handle and resolve disputes relating to their procurements and must in all instances disclose information regarding a protest to the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department.

Competition
2 CFR 200.319 Competition (a) All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition consistent with the standards of this section. In order to ensure objective contractor performance and eliminate unfair competitive advantage, contractors that develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, or invitations for bids or requests for proposals must be excluded from competing for such procurements. Some of the situations considered to be restrictive of competition include but are not limited to:
  1. Placing unreasonable requirements on firms in order for them to qualify to do business;
  2. Requiring unnecessary experience and excessive bonding;
  3. Noncompetitive pricing practices between firms or between affiliated companies;
  4. Noncompetitive contracts to consultants that are on retainer contracts;
  5. Organizational conflicts of interest;
  6. Specifying only a “brand name” product instead of allowing “an equal” product to be offered and describing the performance or other relevant requirements of the procurement.

Third Party Contracting – Public Act 095-0241
Public Act 095–0241, effective Aug. 17, 2007, outlines additional requirements for school districts that choose to contract with a third party for non-instructional services. Regarding school meal services, the legislation impacts school districts with employees who perform services for the school meal program and are considering contracting with a third party to perform those school meal program services. For example, if the school district employs staff to perform various meal service-related tasks, the school district is required to implement new procedures as part of the contract solicitation and award process. Links to the Public Act and the summary of the requirements are provided below.

 Three Step Bid Submission

​School Food Authorities (SFAs) are required to adhere to a three-step submission and review process to ensure compliance with all federal and state regulations and statutes. All documents must be accompanied by the appropriate submission form as follows.
  1. Invitation for Bid and Contract Submission FormWord Document ​(Prior to soliciting bids): All Invitation for Bid and Contract documents must be submitted to ISBE for review to determine regulatory compliance prior to beginning the bid solicitation process. Allow a minimum of one month for ISBE staff to review all documents and to receive written notification that the SFA may proceed with the bid solicitation.
  2. Pre-Contract Award Summary SheetWord Document (After the bid opening and prior to the contract award): You must also include the Bid Criteria Analysis SheetPDF Document , summarizing the evaluation of all bids received based on the pass/fail criteria established in the solicitation/contract. Allow a minimum of 15 days for ISBE staff to review all documents and to receive written notification that the SFA may proceed with the contract award.
  3. Post-Contract Award Summary SheetWord Document (After the contract award)

 Food Service Management Company Contract Prototypes

​The prototype Invitation for Bid and Contract is for use by a school food authority (SFA) initiating a new contract with an FSMC to provide meal services for the Child Nutrition Programs. The document, provided by the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department, will assist the SFA in obtaining competitive bids and awarding the contract to the responsible bidder whose bid is responsive and lowest in price.

There are two prototype contracts available below. The first prototype should be used if FSMC employees prepare and cook school meals that are not pre-packaged/pre-plated. The second prototype should be used if the contractor’s employees are responsible for the management of the program and/or the final preparation and/or serving of pre-packaged/pre-plated school meals. If you are not sure which type of contract you have or you are considering contracting for the first time, please contact the Nutrition Department's procurement team for additional information and clarification: (800) 545-7892. ​​

To ensure continued funding and compliance with federal and state regulations and statutes regarding procurement, it is extremely important for you to download and read the instructions thoroughly prior to downloading the contract prototype.

 Vended Meals Contract Prototype

​The prototype Invitation for Bid and Contract is for use by a School Food Authority (SFA) initiating a new contract with a meal vendor to provide meal services for the Child Nutrition Programs. The document, provided by the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department, will assist the SFA in obtaining competitive bids and awarding the contract to the responsible bidder whose bid is responsive and lowest in price.

The prototype provided below should be used for vended meal contracts only. In a vended meals contract, the contractor provides the meals only, which are generally pre-packaged/pre-plated meals, and does not manage any aspect of the school food service or employ any of the food service personnel. However, if the contractor’s employees are responsible for the management of the program and/or the final preparation and/or serving of the pre-packaged/pre-plated school meals, the contract becomes a food service management company contract and is no longer considered a vended meals contract. If that is the case, you need to use the Invitation for Bid and Contract Prototype for FSMC Contracts —Vended Meals (Pre-packaged/Pre-plated).

If you are not sure which type of contract you have or you are considering contracting for the first time, please contact the Nutrition Department’s procurement team for further information and clarification at (800) 545-7892.

To ensure continued funding and compliance with federal and state regulations and statutes regarding procurement, it is extremely important for you to download and read the instructions thoroughly prior to downloading the contract prototype.

 Informal Bidding Procedures – Vended Meals Contract

​If your contract for vended meal services will not be in excess of $250,000 annually, you may use informal bidding procedures to procure the meal services contract.

The following steps must be part of the informal bidding procedures:
  • Develop a written purchase description of the services/items being solicited; (it is recommended you use the Solicitation for Quotes prototype document located below);
  • Solicit quotes/bids from three or more potential vendors based on the written purchase description; document vendor names along with the date and method of contact—be sure to maintain free and open competition;
  • Record all quotes/bids received and any notification received from vendors declining to bid;
  • Evaluate the quotes for conformance to the purchase description;
  • Award the purchase/contract (record the justification for the award) and, once signed by both parties, the Solicitation for Quotes becomes the contract, and
  • Submit copies of the following documents.  Retain originals in SFA file.
    1. Informal Post Contract Award Summary SheetPDF Document
    2. Executed copy of the contract — Signed Bid Summary only
    3. Signed copy of the Bid-Rigging Certification
    4. Signed copy of the Certificate of Independent Bid Determination
    5. If the contract is $25,000 or more — Signed copy of the Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion — Lower Tier Covered Transactions
    6. If the contract is over $100,000 — Signed copy of the Certificate Regarding Lobbying
    7. If the contract is over $100,000 and any funds other than Federal appropriated funds have been used for lobbying — Signed copy of the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities
    8. List of vendors that received the solicitation/contract documents –include date and method of contact
    9. Record of all quotes/ bids received, and any notification received from vendors declining to bid
    10. Completed evaluation summarizing all bids received
  • These documents will be kept on file for potential audit purposes. In addition, submission of these documents to our office will be required as part of the approval process for your application for participation in the School Nutrition Programs.
Informal Procurement Prototype Documents — Vended Meal Services Under $250,000 Annually

 Contract Renewal

​School Food Authorities (SFAs) must ensure food service management or vended meals contract language indicates the duration of the contract is no longer than one year. Additionally, options for yearly renewal of a contract must not exceed four additional one-year extensions. Since the decision to renew the contract is an affirmative decision made by both parties to the contract each year, either party, for any reason, may decide not to exercise the renewal option. If the contract is not renewed, the SFA must either conduct a new procurement or self-operate its food service.

The basis for renewing the contract, including price increase provisions, if any, must be stated in the contract and be based on a measurable index such as the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. School officials should ensure that price increases are within the terms of the contract.

These forms must be used for all contract renewals with a food service management company or vended meal company and may not be altered without permission from the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department.

A copy of the executed renewal along with all applicable contract certification forms must be submitted prior to the approval of your program participation for each fiscal year. Renewals may be mailed, faxed, or emailed to:

Mail: Nutrition Department, Procurement
Illinois State Board of Education
100 N. First St. W270
Springfield, IL 62777-0001
Email: nutritionprocurement@isbe.net 
Fax: (217) 524-6124

 Contract Amendments

​Contract amendments are not allowable without prior approval from the ISBE Nutrition Department. 

Prior to amending a contract, the SFA must first contact the Nutrition Department’s procurement team to determine if the contract revisions constitute a material or substantive change to the contract. To determine if the change is material or substantive, ask the question, “Would bidders have bid differently if the change had existed at the time of bidding?” If the answer is, “Yes,” a new procurement must be conducted. If the answer is, “No,” it is possible an amendment may be made to the contract.

The following changes would normally not constitute a substantive change in the contract:
  • Number of schools — new schools added;
  • Changes in enrollment — decreases and increases in student enrollment and the corresponding change expected in participation;
  • Changes in student/adult meal price — meal price changes (determined by the SFA);
  • Meal equivalency — minor adjustments to the per meal equivalency as set forth in the contract.
If you have questions regarding a contract amendment, please contact the Nutrition Department procurement team at (217) 782-2491 or (800) 545-7892 (in Illinois), or nutritionprocurement@isbe.net​

 Contract Rebidding

School Food Authorities have the option to re-bid the food service management or vended meal contract at any time. Neither party may make or impose material changes to an existing contract during the contract year or as part of the annual contract renewal process. If it is determined that material or substantive changes are necessary, the SFA must conduct a new procurement and re-bid the contract or may choose to self-operate its food service.
Circumstances which require an SFA to re-bid the contract include:
  • Expiration of the existing contract and renewals; and/or
  • Addition of a program, such as the After-School Supper Program.
In addition, examples of material or substantive changes which could require the SFA to re-bid the contract include:
  • The scope of the contract has substantially changed;
  • Major changes to the formula for determining meal equivalen​cy;
  • Major shift in responsibilities for SFA/FSMC staff; and/or
  • Revision to the fixed-price contract pricing structure and/or terms for price increases becomes necessary.
Finally, the SFA should re-bid the contract if the existing contractor has not fulfilled the contract to the SFA's satisfaction.

School food authorities are required to meet state and local procurement regulations that conform to federal procurement and program regulations when developing the bid solicitation and awarding the contract. Regarding the procurement process, SFAs cannot include contract provisions that restrict competition or prevent companies from bidding on the meal services.

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