Tuesday, November 30, 2010

EASD: School Board Picks Coke Over Pepsi and PTSA Reveals Missing Payment

Coke wagon.

Posted by: Noel Jones

At the last school board meeting, one issue I neglected to mention among all the tax exemption hubbub, was the board voted to sign a 5-year vendor deal with Coca-Cola over Pepsi--both of whom were bidding. As Chris Baxter reports in The Morning Call, the board voted for Coke over Pepsi, partly because the vendor was local, partly because they presented more cost savings, partly because Coke offered more healthy drinks like water and juice, and partly because Pepsi no longer provides a vendor wagon as part of their offering. The vendor wagons are important in supplying concessions to sporting events, and everyone knows by now how important sporting events are to Easton.

Regardless of the conclusion, the process of choosing a vendor was completely screwed up. On the printed agenda, which the public counts on when attending these meetings, the names of the two vendors bidding were left blank, as well as the length of the term of the contract. So if anyone from the public had an issue with either vendor, there was no way for them to

address concerns during the Public Comments on Agenda Items Only portion of the agenda, which happens at the beginning of the meetings, and then by the time public comments rolled around again at the end of the meeting, the vote had already occurred, so it was a done deal.

The board seemed confused about the pros and cons of both sides, and board member Sarah Bilotti, after asking for administrative direction and receiving none, refused to vote at all.

But most disturbing of all, as outlined in Baxter's article, is that it was revealed that The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), who had always received a cut of the vending proceeds, mysteriously in 2008 stopped receiving their cut, when the vendors starting writing single checks directly to the Easton Area School District (EASD), rather than separate checks to each recipient of the funding.

The public needs to insist that the EASD get to the bottom of this and figure out who is responsible. Where has the money been going, instead of the PTSA, and who is responsible? 


peterkc said...

I agree completely that the district should not be excluding some groups from funding opportunities. But I think the question here isn't which company should get the contract or where the money should go -- it's why the district is doing this at all!

+ Filtered tap water at over $10 per gallon is outrageous profiteering that hurts students & parents economically -- besides, doesn't the district provide pure filtered tap water at drinking fountains for free!?

+ Juice and juice drinks -- especially those with added sugar -- are not healthy.

+ Beverages or other products containing high-fructose corn syrup cause or contribute to obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Why is the district is taking money from so a supplier can provide unhealthy & outrageously overpriced products to children and others in district facilities. Put in plain English, the District is taking a bribe to allow the company do something that's wrong and harmful to students and taxpayers.


[BTW, Coca-Cola is based in Atlanta, GA.]

noel jones said...

good points, peter.

Anonymous said...

the feds have been funding healthy eating programs in this country for over 30 years and yet they say obesity is on the rise.
people are going to do what they want to do; it's not the school districts responsibility to tell/control what kids drink. what does it matter if they drink a coke at a game or not if they also have coke in the fridge at home?
soda is not evil; overconsumption is.
I agree w/ the bottled water thing. but to compare it to uncooled unsanitary public water fountains? seriously, have you ever compared the two? yes, bottled water is wasteful and costly, but on a hot day, it will sell because people need to be refreshed and hydrated.

noel jones said...

also good points.