Paying for your child's lunch on-line

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – It's happened to virtually every parent, you forget to give your child their lunch money.  This year folks in food services are trying something new.  It will help parents keep track and help the district.

Over four thousand kids eat lunch at one of the Jonesboro Public Schools.

"What we find, especially in the upper grades, is if the children don't have the money they will ask friends for money or they will get plates and they will share food," said Jonesboro Public Schools Food Service Director Brenda Cox.

That's why the district is using a new computer program.

"Parents are going to be able to track what their children are eating and have an on-line open book account," said Cox.

Math and Science School Cafeteria Manager Dianna Hufstedler said this program will benefit the kids and their parents.

"The kids are not going to have to worry about bringing their money to school, they're not going to have to worry about losing it on the bus or losing it when they get here," said Hufstedler.

Cox said the process is simple but there is a small price to pay for the convenience.

"You have three children in the district and you want to put $30 on each account for a total of $90 if you do it in that same transaction its $1.75 for all three," said Cox.

Cox said if you pay for each child separately you will pay the $1.75 convenience fee each time.  Something else very convenient about the program is all the things parents can do.  In addition to paying online you can also check your child's balance if it gets too low you can get an email reminder!  It also lets parents be more involved.  They can track what their child is buying for lunch!

"This way they will be able to monitor what their child is eating and how much because it tells them right there on the thing what they are getting," said Hufstedler.

The program is free for the school to operate.  "My Nutri Kids" is part of the system they already use.  The school does not benefit from the convenience fee of $1.75 that goes back to a third party for processing the charge online.

©2010 KAIT.  All rights reserved.