Local Schools in a Budget "Crunch" Over Healthful Eats

By: Ann Nucatola
By: Ann Nucatola

The Leon County school district reports that students are eating healthier foods now being offered in the cafeterias. Ironically, because of that the district will have to eat a $300 deficit.

Bill Montford, Leon County Schools Superintendent, says, "Because the fresh fruits and fresh vegetables is considerably more expensive than canned, so we're having to make some adjustments in our budget."

Tim Tankersley of Leon County Schools Nutrition Services adds, "Fresh fruit and vegetables cost us more money. The healthier things like whole wheat bread products cost us more money. It's only a few cents per serving, but when you add it up, the over one million servings, it becomes real expensive."

In a Leon County cafeteria, what looks like a beef hamburger is actually part soy, with a wheat bun. There's more fresh fruit and vegetables, and no more sodas.

Students say they've noticed the healthier options but aren't really sure if it will help them in the long run.

Lauren Waller, a Leon High School senior, says, "Probably not so much. Here at school maybe, but once they leave, it's pretty much back to junk."

Students also say they're not pleased with all the recent menu changes.

Chris Emmanuel, a Leon High School senior, says, "They took out all of the soda machines, and that's a big deal for high school."

School administrators say students are eating the healthier foods available to them, which they feel leads to improved classroom performance.

School administrators say eventually they will be able to balance the budget while still offering the healthy food options.

This year some of the deficit was covered by extra money from previous years.


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