BROADWAY, Va. (WHSV) -- The federal government reimburses participating schools for meeting the healthier guidelines and gives them access to lower priced food.
Those that rejected the program nationally say the reimbursements weren't enough to balance out the losses from students avoiding school lunch.
The federal assistance wasn't quite enough for Rockingham County, but that won't keep the district from trying again.
"Last year we did have a financial loss in our department, but the year before that we had a financial gain. So, it's a little bit of a back and forth, so I really hope that this year we can break even, which is our goal," said Gerald Lehman, the Food and Nutrition Director for Rockingham County Schools.
Broadway High School junior Charlea Olmstead has seen the changes in school lunch over the past few years.
"We've gotten a lot more vegetables, we don't have fries as often," said Olmstead.
She's not too happy about that, but plenty of other students take advantage of the salad bar and most eat their vegetables.
But for Olmstead, "I'm really picky with what I eat."
Lehman said that has been one of the reasons he saw school lunch participation drop three to four percent last year.
"It's been a challenge, but we are now at the beginning of our second year and I'm hopeful and optimistic that we are going to see some improvements in our meal counts and our number of kids participating," said Lehman
Even though students like Olmstead may not like everything on the menu there are some healthy items that stand out.
"I'm a big fan of the strawberries, and a lot of the times I go to the pizza line because I really like the french bread pizza," said Olmstead.
"We're really trying to serve what kids really like. Do we have waste? Yes, we have waste. We know that students are required to select a fruit or a vegetable, so at times they will not really desire to eat that," said Lehman.
Most of the time Olmstead doesn't want to eat vegetables, but by putting it on her plate she sometimes can't help but take a bite.
"I probably end up eating it because I'm a lot hungrier than I thought I was," said Olmstead.
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