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CPS Spent Almost $3 Million On Pizza And Catering Last Year

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Sep 16, 2015 7:32PM

Photo credit: Justin Carlson

Chicago Public Schools officials spent millions of dollars on pizza, sandwiches, and other fast food from last year's budget, a new release of public data shows.

The data, requested by the Sun-Times under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that Chicago Public Schools spent about $2.9 million on catered food, also known as "food from outside vendors," between June 30 2014 and June 20, 2015. Almost half of that money was spent by public schools administrators based in the system's central offices—not inside schools. The spending is separate from the money CPS uses to pay for students' school lunches.

The numbers are a stark contrast to the message of cost-cutting the school system has conveyed amid a city and state-wide budget crisis. According to the Tribune, the school system has spent $400,000 on food from outside vendors just since July. The Tribune's tally of some of the schools' spending habits by company shows a preference for Subway sandwiches (where CPS spent $200,000), Connie's Pizza ($144,000 spent) and Potbelly Sandwich Works ($81,000 spent).

But don't expect the fast food frenzy to continue. Public school employees in the district's central office are now being told they cannot use CPS funds to feed staff at department meetings and other events, The Tribune reports.

Food and beverage costs are now only allowed for student activities if the events are longer than four hours or occur during normal mealtimes. Similar restrictions are in place for parent events, the district said. All of the purchases, the district said, must now be approved in advance by a supervisor.