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Calcasieu school system shells out more dough for bread

Last Modified: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:35 PM

By Nichole Osinski/ American Press

Lovers of Twinkies, Ho Ho’s and Ding Dongs weren’t the only ones left scrambling after Hostess filed for bankruptcy at the end of last month. The company’s demise left the Calcasieu Parish school system without a supplier of bread.

The School Board on Tuesday accepted an emergency bid for bread from Lafayette-based Flowers Baking, the only one of the five vendors approached that submitted a bid. Diamond Foods, Kurz & Co., Pon Foods, and Reinhart were the other companies. In its solicitation, the board asked for the delivery of 460,000 hamburger buns and 120,000 hotdog buns for the rest of the school year, which ends in May.

“To have the buns delivered to schools the board paid nine cents per bun through Hostess,” said Karl Bruchhaus, the chief financial officer for the school system. “With the bid from Flowers Bakery the cost has now risen to 13 1/2 cents per bun ... and the company doesn’t deliver to schools.”

The bread will now be delivered to a warehouse in Lake Charles, and a truck will then take it to schools. The board will need to hire temporary employees to cover the additional route, Bruchhaus said.

The increase of 4.5 cents for buns and the additional cost of adding a delivery route will equal a total increase of $50,000, he said.

“An alternative would have been to go for a full ad period; that would have created a problem, so we went through a shortened process,” said Bruchhaus. “We would have run into (financial) issues by buying more than we can without a bid.”

Federal regulations require student lunches to comply with the food pyramid. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, students should receive five to 12 servings of grains and breads a week depending on their age.

School officials hope to receive lower bids when the Flowers Baking contract ends.

“This was an emergency situation to get stuff in at a decent time frame,” said District 7 board member Mack Dellafosse.

“There are a lot of companies, and it takes them a lot of time to formulate a good bid. We’ve been willing to spend the extra money to help our kids get balanced meals especially as the federal government has changed so many things.”

Online: www.cpsb.org.

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