School nutritionists from across the Commonwealth are trying to get more students to eat healthier meals during the instructional day. About 700 school cooks, managers, and administrators are meeting for a statewide conference this week in Lexington. Kentucky School Nutrition Association President Sabrina Jewell says 17,000 fewer meals are being served at schools across the state, and the lack of participation is causing a financial crunch for lunch programs in many school districts.
"Because our program is federally funded, we're based off of participation,” Jewell said. “So, if they don't eat, then we don't have the money to run our programs. General school taxes and all, they don't pay for school nutrition. We're paid off of the meals that we serve."