Students are balking at healthier school meals ordered by federal officials, causing the county school food service to lose $1.2 million this year, school board members were told on Thursday.
Carolyn Childs, director, said her self-funded program has enough of a surplus to get by for now, but has installed a hiring freeze and taken other austerity measures.
She said with the new requirements and the subsequent wasted food and decline in participation, "There is not a school system in the state that is making money."
Ms. Childs said students, especially older ones, are saying, "You can't make me" eat fruits and vegetables.
She said portions of meat have been cut back. She said, "When you have meat, then you have something. Without meat, they might not get anything."
Ms. Childs said only recently has her department gotten some relaxation on the federal food standards in some areas.
Board member George Ricks said he works in community health and often hears doctors say that "kids are not eating healthy." He said perhaps tha trend to healthier foods can start with younger students.
Ms. Childs agreed that elementary students seem to have less objection to the fruits and vegetables.
Board member Greg Martin said he is unhappy with soch federal involvement in school menus. He said, "The food I had at Alpine Crest many years ago was just fine."