FAIRFAX, VA -- A new proposal would remove soda from vending machines in Fairfax County schools, which make up the largest district in Virginia with 156,000 students. Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen is leading the effort.
During the 2011-12 school year, about 430,000 soft drinks were sold through vending machines in school facilities, according to the Fairfax County Public School system. The National Automatic Merchandising Association pointed out in a recent legislative bulletin to its members that if all 430,000 sodas were purchased by students, the average consumption rate would be less than one soft drink per student a month.
The vending machines are only enabled to work after school hours and during weekends and holidays, according to school officials. About 70% of sodas sold through the machines are regular soft drinks; the remainder are reportedly diet or zero-calorie beverages.
Schools in the district receive 50% of the profits from vending machines under their contract with the vending operator, according to NAMA's bulletin. In fiscal 2012, the schools reportedly received $114,604, which included $82,682 from the schools' share of soda sale profits, and $31,976 donated from the district's food and nutrition services.
McElveen said he plans to seek input and from his fellow school board and community members. Officials are currently reviewing foodservices within the school system, according to NAMA.