"I'm in full support of it," said Krikorian, whose children attend Glendale schools. "The vendors are trying different products and we have seen increase in the purchase of [bottled] water at middle schools. The ultimate goal is to protect our kids. The carbon dioxide [in carbonated soft drinks] breaks down the bone structure of students and there's the obesity problem."
The district has made soda and snack conversions at all four middle schools and Daily High School, and vendors are slowly converting the four other high schools. They must have the snack offerings converted by September and the sodas by July 2007 as prescribed by federal law, Assistant Supt. Greg Franklin said.
"There is a variety of alternatives and the vendors are tuned in to this, so they are working with schools to identify alternative snack foods as well," Franklin said.
Cafeteria foods have been regulated for years, so the changes on the lunch lines won't be as drastic, he said.
The district is way ahead of schedule on the conversions, but the toughest customers are yet to be tested, Krikorian said.
"There are so many other things we can offer and initially there will be resistance, but ultimately they have accepted it," Krikorian said. "The high schools might be tougher but they'll come around."
School officials hope the slow phase-out will give holdouts a chance to get used to the changes while giving options to others, he said. But eventually no sodas will be offered for sale at school, and snacks must adhere to stricter federal guidelines. Edmond Porosyan, a 17-year-old Daily senior, said the conversion was tough at first.
"A lot of people complained about it in the beginning and it was weird because we've always been around [vending] machines," Edmond said. "It's not really a big deal for us now. Actually, more people are buying Gatorade and vitamin drinks, so it's a pretty interesting change."