ABBEVILLE — The Vermilion Parish School Board agreed Thursday to look into an agreement with School Payment Solutions that allows parents to pay for student lunches online.

Mary Jumonville, child nutrition coordinating supervisor, said the school district is in the initial phases of negotiating with the company and she thought it would help parents to see what their children are eating for lunch as well as see what they owe.

She said parents would have the opportunity to pay online for a fee of $2.75 per transaction.

Jumonville said the board would have to collect at least $3,000 monthly online to have the system remain feasible to the company, but she did not foresee a problem because the district was collecting $65,000 to $70,000 in total monthly lunch revenues.

“School Payment Solutions software will integrate with our existing software,” Jumonville said. “With credit card processing, it also means children will not have to handle money and lunch workers will not need to have as much cash on hand. It gives parents another payment option, and these days, parents like to handle these things online with a credit card.”

She said the company also offers parents a high level of online security and does not save credit card numbers once the transaction is complete.

Jumonville said Lafayette Parish recently implemented the system with great success, and she has received several calls requesting the service in Vermilion Parish.

Even though Jumonville said the system could be set up at no cost to the School Board and explained the benefits, one board member still questioned why she and the administration were handling the situation in the current manner.

Board member Tony Fontana first asked why the administration did not send out a survey to parents to gauge interest before coming to the board.

After Jumonville said parents would be notified via mail-outs and phone calls, Fontana then asked if there was still money owed the district by parents.

When Jumonville answered yes, Fontana said the district should bring legal action to collect money owed by parents.

“We do not have a right not to collect this debt,” he said after being told lunch prices were raised last year to cover unpaid lunch fees.

But there was support by several other board members.

“I know there were kids at schools that did not get to eat (because parents forgot to pay),” Ricky Broussard said. “I think we should give this a go.”