Coca-Cola’s contract with San Diego schools ends this year, Chief Financial Officer Bill Kowba noted in a school budget meeting yesterday. It’s a sign of the times for San Diego schools, which won national honors last year from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine for the healthy meals dished out in its cafeterias. Kowba noted that students are shying away from sugary soft drinks and opting for bottled water, and that stocking healthy options in school vending machines hasn’t cut profits.

Why did Coke’s contract come up for discussion? The district has to transfer nearly $1 million from the school general fund to the food service fund, after a state audit found the department hadn’t properly allocated profits from its Coca-Cola contract. (Overall, Food Services got a positive audit.) That means some programs fed by the Coca-Cola money, including health, physical education and fifth-and-sixth grade camping programs, will get 90 percent less money from Coca-Cola this year — a roughly $110,000 cut per program.

EMILY ALPERT

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