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Milk Money Going Online With Automated System

Schools approves point of sale system. Secretaries approve three-year contract.

The days of student bringing lunch money and milk tickets to school each day are about to go the way of cursive writing and the old school bell as the will begin by January an automated cashiering system for all food purchases and transactions after the approved a point of sale system from a New York company last Friday, July 15. 

Nutrikids of Rochester was awarded a $37,765 contract to supply the six schools with equipment and software as part of its LunchByte Systems, Inc., which will allow students to use a four-digit personal information number, PIN, to purchase a slice of pizza, a full meal or their daily carton of milk. 

The system – which was evaluated by Steve Mazzola, director of technology, Paul Browne, school food services and Anthony DiCologero, the school district's director of finance business and operations – is being obtained from money in the Food Services Revolving Account as will an annual fee of $3,000 for licenses and updating software. No money from the general school budget is being used.

Parents will be able to pay into an online account that their children will use to purchase meals and items from the district's Food Services, said DiCologero.

The system includes a hardware cashiers station that allows cafeteria staff to input what is bought on a touch screen – which can have the children's photo on the screen – and provides the account information.

This automated system will also allow students receiving subsidized and reduced priced lunches not to be stigmatized or embarrassed by requesting those meals.

While this will allow parents to forego the inevitable searching through wallets and purses to find money for lunches, parents and students can continue to pay for lunch in cash. 

The systems will provide Food Services a detailed record of what students are purchasing. This information is growing in importance as the state is requiring reports on nutrition in schools.

It will also make for accurate debiting of funds to the schools without the need to handle a large amount of cash and change each day.

The automated system will reduce the number of cafeteria personnel needed to take money and record lunches so they can be used in other areas of Food Services. 

Secretaries, Committee OK contract 

The Belmont School Committee signed a three year agreement with the Belmont Public Schools Secretaries Association last Friday, July 15, which provides the dozen or so secretaries in the district with a $400 lump sum payment for the 2011-12 school year and then a one percent cost of living adjustment for the next two fiscal years.

The contract also specifies that by the end of the contract in June 2014 all secretaries will be proficient – which will be determined by an industry standard test – in software technology including Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and MS Access. The District will assist all secretaries in reaching proficiency but those employees who can not pass the test would be subject to termination. 

The secretaries will also have their work performance evaluated once a year in an effort to fostering growth and development of skills.

JMilton July 19, 2011 at 07:49 PM
I like the idea of this, but hope that every time a parent puts money in the account they don't have to pay a $5 service fee, like you do if you pay your school fees online. The school fees have been put online and people are encouraged to pay them that way, but when I went to do it I saw the fee. I'd rather put a check in the mail for the cost of a stamp.
Bonnie Friedman December 05, 2011 at 02:24 PM
Ran across this today when looking at new lunch system. I so agree with Jocelyn. The online system for busses seemed great until I discovered the fee, which I hadn't noticed until the end of my transaction. Just looked up the lunch system. Fee is cheaper, but still a set charge of $1.75. I think I'd rather pay a small percentage than have to decide when & how much to put in system with this charge. For instance, I was planning on just putting some emergency money of about $5-10 in the account, but with that service charge, it becomes a 17.5-35% fee!

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