The Salt Lake City School District that drew global attention after an elementary school took away $2 lunches from kids has run a closed RFP process to consider hiring a PR firm to tackle the fallout.
The lunches, which were thrown out, were taken from students because the district said some students were not up to date with payments to their lunch accounts. The move was widely panned as media jumped on the story. "There were a lot of tears," one mother told CNN Jan. 30, "and it was pretty upsetting for them."
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Feb. 19 that the district quietly released an RFP to seven potential PR vendors, setting the price at $49,999, or one dollar shy of the threshold for the full board to approve. Vox Creative, a Salt Lake City PR and ad firm, was the top bidder and the board will decide March 4 whether to hire the shop. Board VP Heather Bennett told the paper that the lunch issue and others sparked the decision to hire a firm for the district, which has a single PR staffer.
The RFP was not posted to the district's procurement site, nor was it mentioned at recent board meetings, the Tribune reported.
The district blamed miscommunication for the outrage from parents that ensued and eventually apologized for the lunch flap.