Operating Budget: $43,000,000

Purchased Food Budget: 16,000,000

Student Enrollment: 88,000

Lunches Served Daily: 60,000

Breakfasts Served Daily: 28,000

Cafeteria Prep Sites: 103

Total Serving Locations: 130


All items are purchased through the competitive bid process. Bid specifications are submitted by the School Nutrition department to the Purchasing Department. The Purchasing Department prepares the bids according to School Board Policy, State Board Rules, Florida Statues and Federal Law. The Purchasing Department solicits bids, sets time frames and opens bids. Potential bidders should visit the Vendor Information webpage at for information on the vendor registration process for bid notification. Bid items are purchased only from vendors who have been awarded items for the appropriate bid cycle.

Bid Categories

School Nutrition Bids are divided into two categories.  The first category is direct delivery.  Foods are ordered by School Nutrition managers and delivered directly to school cafeterias.  The second category is Central Warehouse/Stock Items.  Foods and supplies are delivered to the School Board Warehouse in Bartow and then warehouse staff members deliver to school sites.

Items that are Bid as Direct Delivery

  • Bakery Products
  • Fresh Delivered Foods
  • Fruit Juice
  • Milk and Milk Products
  • Non-Refrigerated Foods
  • Produce
  • Refrigerated /Frozen Foods

Items that are Bid as Stock or Central Warehouse Delivery

  • Chemicals
  • Commodity Processing
  • Employee Uniforms
  • Large Equipment
  • Non-Refrigerated Foods
  • Refrigerated/Frozen Foods
  • Small Equipment
  • Supplies/Paper Goods

Approval of Products

All food items are pre-approved and then tested by students.  A Request for Review of New Food Item Form must be completed so that products may be pre-approved by the School Nutrition Staff.  Food items must meet the Polk County Schools Wellness Policy Guidelines. 

Click here to view the Wellness Policy.

Contact Jenna Kaczmarski at for a Request for Review of New Food Item Form.   The review form must be completed and submitted with nutritional and specification information before a student test can be done.

After the item has been approved, the School Nutrition staff will arrange for a student taste test.  Food items are prepared and served  by School Nutrition employees.  Vendors, brokers or manufacturer’s representatives are not permitted to attend the taste test.

Items to be tested must be delivered in a full case, standard pack with approved label attached.  Items to be tested should be delivered to:  Polk County Schools Warehouse & Distribution Center, 965 Highway 60 East, Bartow, FL  33830, Attn: Greg White, 863-534-0905 or 863-534-0908.  Food samples will not be accepted at the district office.  Unsolicited samples will be donated to a local food charity.

Approved items will be noted on the official bid document.

After the bid has been awarded, food items may be selected for testing at an independent laboratory to verify nutritional information.   Food items that do not meet nutritional requirements or nutritional claims of documentation will be removed from the approved brands list.

Food items may be selected for quality checks.  Foods that do not meet the quality and grade specified in the bid document will be picked up and replaced at the bidder’s expense.

Chemicals, paper supplies, small equipment and uniforms are evaluated annually.

Large equipment must be approved by the School Nutrition Department with input from the Maintenance Department.

Polk County Schools participate in approved promotional activities.