School's cola contract to be studied

Thursday, September 30, 2004

GREEN FOREST ---- Pepsi products may soon be banned from the Green Forest School campus, according to guidelines set down by the state legislature.

Act 1220 says every school district must have a school nutrition and physical activity advisory committee to assist in the development of local policies, including "pursuing contracts that both encourage healthy eating by students and reduce school dependence on profits from the sale of food of minimal nutritional value."

At the Sept. 21 school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Larry Bennett said the district would be looking at what it offers in the way of vending machine items, and the Pepsi contract.

"Hopefully, the Pepsi contract will stay," Bennett said later. "Students have options, such as diet drinks and Gatorade. I don't know if Pepsi is going to go away, but the contract will come under a lot of scrutiny."

Bennett said Pepsi machines are located in teacher lounges, gymnasiums and in high school buildings.

The Pepsi contract generates about $30,000 a year for the school district, he said, which is spent on varying projects, such as the academic banquet and academic awards.

"This year, we'll spend it on a sound system for the Alumni Center and possibly to purchase some furniture," Bennett said.

"I'm concerned the state is going to continue with this and it wouldn't surprise me if the state took the contract away."

Those who have been selected to serve on the state-mandated committee include: Dr. Bennett; Suzanne Villines, representing the school board; Sandra Norris, with food service; Ruth Ann Lindstrom, school nurse; Jennifer Cisco, elementary parent; Judy Niven, elementary staff; Regina Rinehart, intermediate staff; Ben Mayer, high school staff; Terri Harness, intermediate staff, all school principals, and four high school students from the Med-Pro-Ed program at the college.

As written in ACT 1220, the goals of the committee are to help raise awareness of the importance of nutrition and physical activity and assist in the development of local policies that address issues including:

  • assisting with the implementation of nutrition and physical activity standards;

  • integrating both into the overall curriculum;

  • ensuring that professional development for staff includes nutrition and physical activity issues;

  • improving the quality of physical education curricula and increasing training of physical education teachers;

  • enforcing existing physical education requirements; and

  • pursuing contracts that both encourage healthy eating and reduce dependence on profits from the sale of foods of minimal nutritional value.

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