THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Schools in the Mount Pleasant Central School District unveiled a new software system allowing their cafeterias to computerize the payment system to help speed up food service lines. Not all parents are pleased with the new system, however.
“We are quick to turn into a cashless society and I have no interest in my children learning how to charge at an early age,” said parent MaryKate McCabe.
The software system, called KidsServe, work like a debit card system. Each student is given a secret four-digit pin code number that they will enter at the cashier when paying for their food. The amount will then be subtracted from an account that parents add money to for meals. Theresa Fowler, president of the board of education, said the system was put in place to not only cut down on the time students spend waiting in line at lunch, but also to computerize the revenue in the cafeteria.
“It was a system that was also suggested by the district’s auditors in order to allow the district to become more efficient in tracking our financial progress in the school cafeterias,” Fowler said.
Earlier this week, the pin code system was unveiled at each of the four schools in the district. Fowler stressed that although it is encouraged for students to use the pin code, cash purchases are still accepted.
Liz McKiernan Healy, a parent in the district, was pleased to hear about the new change.
“No more worries about lost or forgotten lunch money. If the lunch gets left on the kitchen table the child will still be able to get something to eat,” McKiernan Healy said. “I wish this was in place a long time ago.”
Dawn McLaren has two children in elementary school, one who is a third grade special needs student. In her opinion, the change is not a benefit as the district will now get rid of lunch tickets that her special needs child used as a purchase method.
“Some of them are used to just handing over a ticket," McLaren said. "And now they’re being forced to use this debit system or handle cash, and I don’t see how using a ticket slows down the line.”
McLaren added that the new system creates an added burden for her as she will be forced to track on a daily basis how much food her children are purchasing on the debit system.
The district provides a full list of frequently asked questions about the new computerized payment system software on their website.