Opp schools set for online lunch payments

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 16, 2012

Come next school year, Opp parents will have a “new and improved option” for paying for their students’ breakfasts and lunches, officials said Thursday.

Opp City Schools Child Nutrition Program director Heather Short said they are hoping to make paying for lunch “a little easier on our parents and provide a little bit easier access.”

“Parents who are signed up for this program will receive a reminder telling them when their balance is low,” she said. “This will alleviate not knowing when your child’s balance is low.”

Short said system administrators have decided to implement the program for the 2012-2013 school year.

“We were looking for something to concrete what we thought was a good idea,” she said. “We will be piggybacking off of a tool that is offered through out current lunch software.”

Short said families will have a user-specific account number that will be confidential.

“This is something we entertained in 2009, but shied away because of a convenience fee,” Short said.

Short said the company the school system will utilize to provide the online service charges a convenience fee of $1.

“We are trying to get feedback from parents to see if it is worthwhile,” she said. “So far it has been positive. It seems to be something that people welcome.”

In fact, parents left comments on the OCS Facebook page in support of the $1 fee.

“I would love this,” said Marianne Scott.

“I would like it also,” said Kim Ellison Ballard. “And I would love it if I could view the account balance on Parent Portal.”

“I think it is a good idea,” said Kimberly Harrison. “I would like to see that done with the snacks, too.”

Short said parents will have the opportunity to pay through online check, debit card, VISA or MasterCard.

“We plan for parents to be able to access their account off of the Opp City Schools website,” she said. “It will be real-time and will reflect as soon as it is posted.”

“This is another effort to remain current,” said OCS Superintendent Michael Smithart. “Online transactions are the nature of personal finance and we hope this proves to be convenient and efficient for our parents.”

Short said anyone with questions may contact her at the Central Office at 493-3173.