Boston schools food program in chaos, report finds

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Widespread dysfunction in the Boston school system’s food service program is leading to millions of dollars in losses each year and creating an apparent “hostile work environment” for employees, according to an external review obtained by the Globe.

The review, commissioned by the School Department and completed last month, found the program had lost more than $21 million over the past eight years, even after the department took steps to rein in costs and increase revenue, such as raising school lunch prices.

The management problems are so dire that the food program even lacks a system to alert cafeteria cashiers about students with food allergies, potentially putting the students at risk, according to the review by the Council of the Great City Schools, a national consulting and advocacy organization. And the food services frequently plans menus — without consulting individual cafeteria managers — that include products that are unavailable, creating last-minute disarray.

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