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Sodexo has done the job to create clean and safe Chicago public schools

“The schools under Sodexo supervision are in significantly better condition than when we arrived and provide the students of CPS an improved environment to learn and succeed,” writes Sodexo CEO Steve Dunmore.

Chicago Public Schools logo at CPS head quarters.
Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A recent op-ed from SEIU Local 73 President Dian Palmer contains gross inaccuracies we seek to clarify here but does arrive at a key point we can all agree on: Chicago’s public schools deserve clean and safe classrooms.

Sodexo takes pride in the job we and our local MBE/WBE business partners have done for the past eight years for the schools we supported in the Chicago Public Schools. It is troubling that Ms. Palmer — and others — continue to conflate Sodexo’s well-documented positive work at CPS with another company’s job performance. We are not that company; and while initial reports included photographs of unsanitary conditions they are not from, nor do they reflect the conditions of, the schools that we are responsible to care for. It is not Sodexo and to state otherwise is a disservice to the 1,200 Sodexo employees who have worked diligently for CPS for nearly a decade.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be approximately 350 words or less.

The schools under Sodexo supervision are in significantly better condition than when we arrived and provide the students of CPS an improved environment to learn and succeed. We have many testimonials from principals and others attesting to our work.

We are concerned over the lack of transparency regarding recent contracts that have been awarded by CPS and have shared those concerns with leadership. Similarly, the transition taking place among private contractors has been rushed, just as opening day for schools approaches. We all want a safe environment for students, teachers and staff and we will continue our work to ensure that.

We know that despite our differences Ms. Palmer shares our commitment to that standard.

Steve Dunmore, CEO, Sodexo Schools

Biden flubbed basic rule: Remove troops last

Whatever “side” one is on, we should all be able to agree that President Joe Biden screwed up our withdrawal from Afghanistan. It reduces to what in math we call “order of operations.” Having an order gets you the right answer.

Applied to Afghanistan, or to pulling out from any country, there is a simple order of operations. First you get American civilians out. Next comes Afghani civilians who qualify, which may require a vetting process. Next you remove, or at least destroy, your equipment. And finally, as part of the last — not first — step, your soldiers leave.

My 13-year-old could tell you that.

William Choslovsky, Lincoln Park

GOP governors and Biden unprepared

The governors of Florida and Texas, defiantly denying any complicity in the astounding rise of COVID-19 in their states — a result at least in part of their authoritarian opposition to masks and the like — now are pleading for all manner of outside help and setting up clinics to administer to the stricken.

In a similar way, President Joe Biden, having defiantly defended his decision to summarily withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, now is grappling with the difficulties of American civilians and some Afghans. He also faces the problem of the military stores left behind. And there is yet unanswered question of where and how to permanently relocate the extracted Afghans.

It would seem that all of the above are masters in trying to shut the barn door after the cows are out. They forgot the seven Ps: Proper prior preparation prevents profoundly poor performance.

William P. Gottschalk, Lake Forest

Try nation-building at home

It’s easy to hang the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan around Joe Biden’s neck. But every president since 9/11 shares the blame. President George W. Bush started the problem. Obama ignored it. Trump politicized it, and still is. Biden screwed up the exit.

The bottom line is that our nation’s involvement in Afghanistan was a colossal failure of epic proportions in all aspects. Lives, resources and money all were wasted.

We never should be in the business of “nation-building” in remote parts of the world where they hate us and our ideals. We should never try and force a democracy where it can’t possibly fit. We should confine our nation-building to our own shores and fix our own problems.

Scot Sinclair, Third Lake