Districts need snack sales to remain financially solvent, directors say

Some schools worry new USDA competitive food regs could hurt their bottom line.

July 15 — While raw carrots call out for takers at a local school cafeteria, the line for the snack window is 10-deep with sixth-graders awaiting frosted zebra cakes, fried dough sticks and many more sugar- and fat-laden treats.

Why does Highland Middle School offer such junk food?

“Purely for money,” said Maria McCarthy, food service director for the district, which sold $52,000 in vending machine items and $189,000 in so-called a la carte foods and snacks in 2011-12, among them a high school favorite, nachos with cheese.