One of the Democrats who’s running for governor says he has questions about a proposal that could see the dining services at Iowa State University taken over by a private contractor. The state-run school is in the process of reviewing bids to run its food service. Representative Ed Fallon of Des Moines says he’s concerned that the new contractor won’t buy as much Iowa-grown meat and produce.
I-S-U food services buy about $5.3 million in food each year. He’s also concerned that the 800 or so students who work “food service” wouldn’t be paid as well. Fallon says outside contractors would likely cut the wages that’re now paid I-S-U students. He says the starting wage for I-S-U food service workers is $7.25 an hour, but he says Drake University students employed by one of the companies that’s bid on the I-S-U contract are paid a dollar an hour less.
Fallon says that’s important because students depend on that money to finance their college education. Fallon says it’s important to keep the business of the state-run schools in Iowa. He says Iowa universities ought to be focused on supporting the businesses in their communities. He says, “That’s one of the main problems that we’re seeing with the economy right now, too much is being outsourced.” Fallon says outsourcing the business at the state-run universities would go in the opposite direction we should be going. ISU plans to open the bids for the food service contracts for public viewing next week.